Nursing Schools Reject Increased Number of Applicants Over Lack of Faculty Members
Nursing schools nationwide rejected more than 41,000 qualified applicants in 2005, compared with 33,000 in 2004 and 18,000 in 2003, and three out of four schools attributed the increased rejections in large part to an insufficient number of faculty members, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, USA Today reports. As the 2006 academic year begins, 7.9% of faculty positions at nursing schools remain vacant, and, in response, a number of schools have launched programs to help increase the number of faculty members with help from the federal government, hospitals and the health insurance industry.
For example, 14 nursing schools have launched doctoral programs to prepare nurses to teach or work as supervisors in hospitals, and an additional 190 programs are in development. In addition, 31 nursing schools since 2000 have launched fast-track programs that reduce the time required to earn a doctorate by at least one year, and an additional 13 programs are in development.
Sally Lundeen, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Nursing, said, "We have increased interest in the profession at exactly the time when we need to ratchet up our preparation of staff nurses, but we have too few faculty, and the ones that we have are gray and contemplating retirement in droves over the next few years."
According to USA Today, "That's bad news for a nation braced for a worsening shortage of nurses." HHS expects the current 10% vacancy rate for nursing positions to increase to 36%, or more than one million positions, by 2020 (MacDonald, USA Today, 10/4).