Nurse Faculty Shortage in U.S.: A Role of the State/Province in Addressing the Shortage

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 3:45 PM

Sue A. Blanshan, PhD
Academic Affairs10th Floor, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Baltimore, MD
Peggy E. Daw, ADN, MSN, RN
Nurse Support Program II, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Baltimore, MD
Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Barbara Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

Purpose: Schools of nursing (SON) in the US are turning away qualified applicants because of the lack of nurse faculty. While nearly 300 nurse faculty were expected to retire in 2008 (Yordy, 2006), only 400 nurses earned the doctoral degree and all are not expected to enter the academy (Potempa, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to describe the State of Maryland’s response to dealing with the nurse faculty shortage.

Methods:  The Nurse Support II program was established by the State in 2005 to increase nurse faculty. Funding for NSP II is provided through a 0.1% increase to the rate structure of hospitals. The funds are managed by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) which provides: competitive institutional grants, new nursing faculty fellowships, and scholarships to encourage faculty career paths for existing registered nurses to complete required graduate education.

Results: MHEC administered 51 grants totaling more than $43 million. Three to five year institutional projects provide time for substantive capacity building. Projects have included new nursing degree programs, expansion of existing programs, incorporation of instructional technology, updated simulation etc. From 2006-2011 the institutional programs graduated1000 new RNs, an additional 300 returned for the BSN, 250 completed graduate education, 100 completed a post-graduate certificate.  Sixty new faculty were hired in 2010-2011 and of these, 35 were awarded nursing faculty fellowships. Over 250 individual nurses have been funded through the scholarship and grants to complete the graduate degrees required and have signed service agreements to teach in a Maryland SON for 4 years. There are over 100 current students who will graduate within the next two years, with intentions to teach nursing students in classroom or clinical settings.

Conclusion: Effective interventions by governments and hospitals can be used to address the nurse faculty shortage.