School Heeds Demand for Nurse Educators

Nurse educators are in demand across the nation, as the federal government continues to alert the public that more qualified professionals are needed in the medical field. The shortage of nurses in the nation has been an ongoing problem for many years and analysts say that this issue isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Nursing schools across the nation are trying to open their nursing programs to a larger number of students. More students are entering into degree programs for nursing, but it seems that there is still a gap in the system. Many blame the problem on a much needed entity in the cyclic system producing nurse professionals: teachers.

While there are plenty of people answering the call and enrolling in nursing programs, a few obstacles are standing in the way. Aside from the economic challenges faced by medical facilities that need, but cannot afford dozens of new nurses, many of the challenges lay in the education system. First, nursing schools are turning away applicants and that makes entering into a good program difficult for all but the very best students. With more competition, more students who would be well-qualified to enter the field can’t obtain the training they need. Nursing schools face funding troubles when it comes to allowing more students into the program, but one key component of the problem is a shortage of nurse educators. Students graduating from a nursing program go on to become nurses, and not teachers.

All of that is changing at FMU, however. According to SCNow.com, a South Carolina news outlet, students at Francis Marion University are picking up their stethoscopes and heading back to FMU for their master’s in education or family nurse practioner:

“The area is in such dire need,” Wittmann-Price said. “This 12-county Pee Dee region is in such need of primary care practitioners, so there really weren’t a lot of obstacles, and we always need people to train them.”

The nurse educator program will train students to fill the nation’s growing demand. Wittmann-Price said institutions across the country, including FMU and nearby Florence-Darlington Technical College, struggle to get enough qualified nurse educators to fill up full and part-time faculty positions.

 

In fact, according to a recent report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in 2011 nursing schools turned away more than 75,500 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs because they didn’t have enough faculty members to accommodate the demand.

 

And schools aren’t the only place nurse educators are needed.

 

“Our educators can go to hospitals because hospitals need educators also for staff development, so this degree will allow them to either work in academia or in the hospital and clinical area,” Wittmann-Price said.

The need is expected to grow greatly in the next decade, according to AACN, because many educators in the baby boomer generation who have put off retirement will finally stop teaching, and masters and doctoral programs are not producing a large enough pool of potential nurse educators to …. Read more: Big Hopes for FMU Nursing Program