By Allison Philips
Senior Copywriter and Edge Contributor
There’s an urgent problem facing the healthcare industry in America. We need more nurses, but nursing schools are running short on faculty. Many of these educational institutions do not have the capacity to train more students, which limits the number of nursing students they can accept.
Why Is There a Nursing Shortage?
Some of the factors perpetuating the nursing shortage problem include budgetary limitations, a high volume of nursing teachers nearing retirement age in the next decade and increasing job competition from healthcare organizations.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath are only serving to exacerbate the nursing shortage. Then there is America’s aging population to consider; there will be more patients for nurses to serve in the future.
“Part of the problem with not having enough nurses is that there is a vast shortage of nursing educators and to educate registered nurses, almost all 50 states require that you possess a master’s degree,” states Dr. Marcia Sotelo, the University’s department chair for Nursing. “We have a number of people entering nursing education who, for example, went to school for nursing informatics or to be a nurse practitioner, then decided they wanted to become teachers.”
“They have a master’s, so they are qualified according to all the nursing boards of each state, but they don’t possess an understanding of pedagogy or teaching theory. They don’t understand much about accreditation, which is so crucial in nursing. There’s so much they don’t grasp because they just haven’t had that (teaching) background.”
The Nursing Shortage Will Likely Worsen in the Future
America’s nursing shortage combined with aging baby boomers who will require more healthcare services means even more nurses will be needed. Healthline predicts that more than a million nurses will be needed by 2030.
Dr. Sotelo notes, “People have been predicting for years that by 2050, we’ll be a million nurses short. Now you’ve got many nurses leaving the profession, so we’re probably going to hit that number sooner. Making sure we have the nurse educators is an important piece of solving the problem because without the nursing educators, we obviously can’t educate.”
The University Launches a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education
The University now offers a new nursing education certificate. This graduate certificate is designed for skilled nursing professionals and will enhance their instructional skills and meet specific standards that are often required to teach in the field.
“In nursing, there’s a strong emphasis on certifications. In nursing education, it’s called the certified nurse educator. To become a certified nurse educator equipped with Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) certification, you must have a master’s in nursing education, a fair amount of experience as a nurse educator or at least 12 hours of nursing education courses,” explains Dr. Sotelo. She adds, “This certificate will help prepare those who want to sit for the certified nurse educator exam.”
Related link: Don’t Forget: Thank a Nurse during National Nurses Week
The ‘Three P’s’ Every Nursing Educator Should Know
According to Dr. Sotelo, nursing educators commonly complete courses in the “Three P’s” — pathophysiology, pharmacology and patient assessment. The University’s online master of science in nursing curriculum covers them in two courses.
Combined with the University’s graduate certificate in nursing education, these courses are all designed to help future nursing instructors to effectively transfer their knowledge and skills to pre-licensure nursing students. Dr. Sotelo notes that the graduate certificate “includes courses on learner-centered teaching methodology, how to develop a curriculum, and how to assess and evaluate learning.” She adds, “Those enrolled in the University’s nursing education certificate program complete a 16-week practicum and a capstone project.”
Dr. Sotelo notes, “I’m seeing more hospitals trying to figure out ways to educate more nurses. We already had a nursing shortage. We already had issues with staffing. We already had those problems and COVID-19 just intensified them. But I also see opportunities for real solutions, because you can’t operate a hospital without nurses.”
“Nursing is crucial, and I think the profession is being appreciated in a new way that it wasn’t before. I’m proud that our University is helping to further educate the educator, who in turn will prepare the next generation of nursing professionals to help fill this critical void.”