The Impact of the Nursing Shortage on Nurse Education
With the nursing shortage only beginning, its far-reaching implications are only beginning to surface. Many new graduates of campus-based and online nursing degrees are confused about the high competition for jobs within metropolitan areas, while rural and underserved populations seem to be scrambling for health care providers at an astounding rate. One of the key elements of these problems combines both the fields of nursing and education, where Nurse Educators are rapidly decreasing in numbers, impacting the ability to educate and train the number of nurses needed to fill those positions.
Most Nurse Educators can be found within larger cities, due mostly to the accessibility of academic programs geared toward the advanced practice nursing degrees needed to qualify as a Nurse Educator. This presents a multi-layered issue as there are not enough instructors to guide those on the RN education track, much less advanced practice nurses, and the focus seems to be on the education and training of the RN’s, in order to increase the number of nurses able to provide general nursing care. This leaves little time and resources available to train nurses within the educator role, which inevitably impacts the higher level of education within nursing, and will ultimately affect all nursing concentrations. These factors, combined with the time commitment and salary offered to Nurse Educators, is just as important within the nursing shortage as the large number of nurses expected to reach the age of retirement over the next decades.
While several states and nursing schools offer incentives to those interested in pursuing a career as a Nurse Educator, these programs may not be enough to fill the increasing void of instructors, as well as all levels of advanced practice nurses. Many colleges, universities and online nursing schools have increased the accessibility to this academic track through online education, offering more students the ability to become nurses through a more flexible and convenient schedule. However, these programs may not be enough of a solution as the nursing shortage continues to grow. As a matter of proactive commitment to the overall health and wellness of the population, more legislation should be introduced that brings solutions to the nursing shortage, and to Nurse Education, overall, giving nurses the motivation and resources to continue to give back to the public, as well as continue to provide top-quality education within all levels of nursing.