Retaining the Wisdom: Deans' Reflections on Extending the Academic Working Life of Aging Nurse Faculty

Monday, 22 July 2013: 11:25 AM

Nancy Falk, PhD, MBA, RN
School of Nursing, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify and discuss why aging nurse faculty are highly valued

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to articulate re-adjustment strategies for retaining the wisdom of aging nurse faculty

Purpose: By 2016, over one million new and replacement nurses will be needed to care for an aging U.S. population. Nurse faculty members are vital to educating nurses; yet, on average, they are over 50 years of age and face key retirement decisions. In 2011-2012, over 75,000 qualified applications were not granted admission into nursing programs nationwide, largely to the faculty shortage. Continued employment of aging nurse faculty offers potential benefits to stakeholders. The purpose of this study was to interview deans from 9 diverse baccalaureate nursing programs in 8 states to gain understanding about perceptions related to extending the academic working life of aging nurse faculty.

Methods: Data Collection - Interviews of Deans of Baccalaureate Nursing Programs.  Grounded theory and constant comparative analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were utilized.  

Results: Aging nurse faculty are highly valued, programs and faculty face environmental challenges, when aging faculty fail to keep current—a mismatch, or “stakeholder incongruence” may occur, and re-adjustment can lessen the incongruence.

Conclusion: Deans and educational leaders can implement practical re-adjustment strategies to retain the wisdom of aging nurse faculty. Though this research was conducted in the United States, many re-adjustment strategies can be implemented within non US based programs.