Putting Education Reform To The Test

Shortage of Nursing Faculty May Bring Online Doctorate Programs


We’ve heard plenty about the need for more nurses. But students who want to become nurses are being turned away from training programs because there aren’t enough instructors to teach them.

Schools are looking for alternatives. The latest is the University System of Georgia, where leaders hope computers can fill in some of the educational gaps. The idea is to create online doctorate programs for people who can’t relocate. Those who want to help educate future nurses would be able to continue working while pursuing the required high-level degree.

Data shows more than 50% of qualified applicants are turned away each year from associate’s and bachelor’s degree RN programs in Florida. Reasons include faculty shortages and limited funding for teaching positions.

The Florida Center for Nursing was established by the Florida Legislature in 2001 to address issues of supply and demand. The FCN website states that despite an increase in applications, nursing schools “can do little to remedy the looming nursing shortage if they don’t have adequate faculty. Compounding the issue are the regional and national accreditation standards” that are becoming more rigid.

A collaborative effort between Broward Community College, Nova Southeastern University, and Barry University seeks to boost the number of qualified nursing faculty. The campuses are working together to further the education of instructors who no longer have the degree level required to continue teaching.

There are other reasons for the scarcity of nurses: population growth, older nurses retiring, corporate hiring practices. Assuming federal healthcare reform will be implemented as planned, the Florida Center for Nursing estimates the state will be short 56,000 full-time registered nurses by the year 2025.


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