Viewpoint: Investment in nursing schools can help end the workforce shortage

With staffing shortages poised to continue, those in the healthcare space must rethink strategies to address the issue. One place to start is by increasing investment in nursing schools, members of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board argue in a Feb. 6 article

Nursing schools provide a critical pipeline for hospitals and health systems. And this pipeline is even more important for these organizations as they seek to fill vacancies by nurses who left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic for various reasons.

Colleges and universities have launched nursing programs and partnerships nationwide to fill the pipeline. Potential students have also expressed their interest in entering the nursing workforce. 

Student enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs climbed by 3.3 percent in 2021, according to data released April 5, 2022, by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. But the data also showed that a total of 91,938 qualified applications were not accepted at U.S. nursing schools in 2021, and that total included 76,140 turned away from entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs.

The Bloomberg Opinion editorial board argues that faculty shortages and a lack of clinical training sites are contributing factors. 

"Breaking this cycle first requires boosting the ranks of instructors. A survey released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in October showed more than 2,100 full-time faculty vacancies, roughly 85 percent of which require or prefer a doctoral degree. Such strict qualifications are unnecessarily limiting, and the candidate pool is vanishingly small," editorial board members wrote.

The editorial board also argues that hiring more master's-level professors and, longer term, increasing stipends for full-time doctoral students are among potential solutions.

To read the full article, click here

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