According to recent trends in the health industry, the national nursing shortage that was predicted several years ago is really taking its toll. Nursing schools are being bombarded with new applicants and students are finding it exceedingly difficult to get into a good nursing college or program. However, there is at least way to increase the chances of being accepted into a college’s nursing program: aspire to become a nurse educator.
While the nursing shortage is complex in nature, there are some tell-tale signs that it is worsening. In some places, it is difficult for students to find a nursing job, even after being accepted into a good program and earning a degree in nursing. That is happening because not all regions of the country are facing a nursing crisis. However, what does seem to be happening all over the country is an increase in the number of students who are applying for nursing colleges are being turned away.
Nursing colleges can only accept a limited number of students into their programs because of budgeting, funding, and more importantly, staffing. While the media focuses on the shortage of nurse practitioners and the retirement of aging nurses already in the industry, many sources of news are neglecting an important sector of the industry. Nursing schools are becoming exceedingly short-staffed for the same reasons that health facilities in larger populated areas are short-staffed: there aren’t enough qualified candidates.
This may seem like a paradox; students face a tough time trying to get into a good nursing program and nursing programs are facing a tough time finding qualified teachers. However, it stands to reason that nursing colleges are the one place where a student’s aspirations to become a nurse educator will be highly valued.
To become a nurse educator, students will need to be able to complete an entire master’s degree program. A practicing nurse with a BSN is a great candidate for the master’s program and many schools offer accelerated programs to help get the students to the degree level within a couple of years. There are also post-graduate programs that can help achieve the goals of a nurse who wants to earn a PhD and become a nurse educator.
With the master’s degree, a nurse can teach college (undergraduate and graduate) level courses at an accredited nursing school. This allows them to become part of the solution to the nursing shortage and offers career stability in the process. Nursing schools should be flooded with applications for decades to come as the country tries to recover from the shortage. In the mean time, nursing students who hold an undergraduate degree can work and pursue the master’s degree to become a nurse educator.