Kathryn H. Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, has been appointed as a new member to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (NACNR). Bowles is the van Ameringen Professor in Nursing Excellence and Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). The NACNR chooses members of the council from the scientific and lay communities who embody diverse perspectives in the field of nursing, public and health policy, law, and economics.
NACNR is the National Institute of Nursing Research’s (NINR) principal advisory board, which meets three times a year on the National Institutes of Health campus to make recommendations and provide support on the direction of research that forms the evidence base for nursing practice. The council conducts second level reviews of grant applications that have been scored by scientific review groups, and reviews the institute’s extramural programs to make recommendations about its intramural research activities.
Bowles brings over 20 years of experience conducting and evaluating multidisciplinary research to the table. She looks forward to supporting cutting edge research and NINR priorities to advance the health and treatment of patients and their caregivers. Her personal research examines decision-making supported by information technology to improve older adult care. Most recently her studies included a focus on development of decision support to determine best site of care for patients in need of post-acute care. Her other areas of research include telehealth technology, home care, and evaluation of electronic health records. Bowles was also a co-founder of RightCare Solutions, a software company based on NINR funded research to provide an end to end solution for discharge planning and post-acute care referrals.
Judy Didion was recently selected to take place as the new dean in the school of nursing at Oakland University. She is the current dean and professor of the College of Nursing at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. After eight years in her position she looks forward to the opportunity to serve as dean at a larger university.
Didion will be bringing over 40 years of experience to Oakland University. Prior to her position at Lourdes University, she held positions at the Medical College of Ohio (now Bowling Green State University), Farleigh Dickenson University, the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Owens Technical College. She holds a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Toledo, a master of science in nursing with a clinical nurse specialist and administration specialty from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and a PhD in nursing from Duquesne University.
Looking forward to working with Oakland’s great nursing program and well-qualified faculty, Didion hopes to focus on bringing a sense of community engagement to Oakland’s larger campus. She hopes to expand her influence and work on new initiatives that a small school wouldn’t typically be involved in. Oakland’s goals for Didion include increasing the program’s visibility and increasing diversity in the nursing workforce. There is room for all programs in how they build nursing education and improve health care, so it’s all about working together, not competing against each other.
Didion will begin her new position at Oakland University on July 25.
Nurses make up the largest sector of the health care system with over 3.1 million RNs nationwide. Even with this astounding number, the nursing field is still in jeopardy of not being adequate enough to care for the aging population. The number of nurse educators has dwindled, and in turn, less people who desire to become nurses are able to enter nursing programs.
The key to alleviating the shortage lies not only in the number of qualified nursing applicants, but in the number of nursing faculty available—without quality educators, nursing will not survive the shortage. “Nursing education is the leader of the nursing profession as a whole because it all has to start with education,” says Nicole Thomas, MSN, CCM, LNC, an adjunct instructor at Virginia College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “If nurses and other health care professionals are not properly educated then our industry will not thrive,” she adds.
In August 2010, the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) issued a report to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Congress titled The Impact of the Nursing Faculty Shortage on Nurse Education and Practice, which outlines the nursing faculty shortage. The NACNEP report addressed 4 key challenges to the educator profession:
1. Recruitment challenges, including:
- Difficulties in attracting and retaining qualified nurse faculty
- Challenges in achieving demographic diversity within nursing facult
- A general lack of awareness on the part of the public and among nurses that the faculty role is a viable career option
2. Problems in providing adequate nurse educational preparation specific to teaching
3. Obstacles to sustaining and funding nurse faculty programs
4. The aging and imminent retirement of current nurse faculty
As a direct result of the nursing faculty shortage, as recent as 2014, 31% of all BSN qualified applicants, 37% of ADN qualified applicants, and 27% of PN qualified applicants were turned away, according to the National League for Nursing’s Annual Survey of Schools of Nursing Academic Year 2013-2014. Nurses who want to continue their education and pursue a higher degree have also been affected by the shortage. In 2014, 22% of qualified MSN applicants and 16% of qualified doctorate applicants were rejected.
The large number of nurses pursuing higher education being turned away not only affects the general nursing population, but also those who wish to pursue a nurse educator role in the future. Decreasing acceptance rates at the master’s level is in part exacerbated by increased competition and the fact that one in four MSN programs has highly selective requirements for admission. Trends like these help perpetuate a continual cycle of not having enough nursing graduates to take on nurse educator roles in schools of nursing.
Another issue facing nurse educators is that the current nurse educator population is aging, and therefore, not enough newer educators are able to fill the gap. This is in part because of a general lack of awareness of the profession as an option to nurses. More awareness to this specialty in nursing needs to be made. Surprisingly, a nurse does not need to major in education specifically to become an educator; a nurse can become an educator with either a master’s or doctorate degree.
Rebecca Harris-Smith, EdD, MSN, BA, an assistant dean and interim director of an entry level master’s program, has her own take on nurses who want to move into academia: “Many nurses and nurse practitioners move into education with little to no training in education; I would require that nurse educators spend time learning the art of education. Let us not forget the need to ensure that we are expert facilitators of the teaching/learning process.”
For the Love of Teaching
Stark salary discrepancies between clinical nurses and nurse educators may discourage many from pursuing academia. Some nurses may not be drawn to academia simply because of the pay. Salaries of nurse educators are notably lower than those in similarly ranked faculty across education according to The NLN Faculty Census. Salaries at the professor rank averaged nearly 45% less than those teaching in non-nursing fields. Harris-Smith, who teaches at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, acknowledges the pay discrepancy: “Nurse educators prepare future nurses and often watch graduates’ salaries increase beyond the educators’ salary within a few years, so if money is your motivation then you are not prepared for academia.”
Neither Thomas nor Harris-Smith are motivated by money and both enjoy teaching. Thomas always knew she wanted to be a teacher: “I am a teacher at heart. I would spend countless hours as a floor nurse educating my patients and their families because I think it’s important to empower them with the knowledge that they need to take care of themselves beyond an inpatient setting—the hospital is just a interim fix, but if they are equipped with the knowledge that they need then they can properly manage their health.”
Harris-Smith’s path to academia was slightly different, with her mother urging her to pursue nursing at her reluctance. “My mother wanted me to be a nurse, and at first, I was not open to the idea,” she says. Even after pursuing a degree in education, Harris-Smith didn’t put it to use until years later. “I put that degree (education) on the shelf for many years, but as I matured, I could not shake the desire to work with students. One day I finally realized that it was my destiny to become a nursing educator.”
Nurse education is changing with technology taking the forefront. Technology is expanding with online classes, patient simulators, and other tools that make education more accessible when it otherwise wouldn’t be. “Nurse educators and students must be open to the use of technology because it is here to stay,” notes Harris-Smith. “The use of human patient simulators when clinical sites are unavailable is a major help for schools of nursing, and the use of technology in the classrooms invaluable when it comes to engaging students.” Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) have also played a large role in nursing education over the years, with students learning new charting systems during clinical rotations.
The face of nursing is becoming more dynamic in nature as well, which poses other necessary alterations to nursing education. Nursing as a whole has become more diverse and nurse educators must adapt to this change. “The influx of intergenerational, multicultural students that are currently in the class requires the nurse educator to facilitate the learning needs of a very diverse population of students,” says Harris-Smith.
Nurse educators must continuously stay abreast of nursing issues and trends to keep up with the ever-changing nature of the field. Nursing as a whole can and will improve with active recruitment of this underrepresented specialty. Those who choose to pursue academia hold a special role in the profession, because without them, nurses wouldn’t exist. When asked of the most notable change she has seen in education, Thomas adds: “The biggest change I have seen is an increased rigorous curriculum for nurses and other health professionals, which I think is good.” Thomas’ statement reflects what nurses already knew—nurse educators are doing their job well; we just need more of them.
Linda Howe, Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida (UCF), recently passed away on May 13th at 67 years old. The university is very saddened by the loss of an esteemed faculty member, but the dean of the College of Nursing says Howe has left behind a legacy for current and future nursing students.
Howe was honored for her innovative teaching strategies in October 2015 and inducted as a fellow into the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education. Her innovative teaching included creating The Village, a unique case-based approach to teaching pharmacology to engage students and increase their understanding of the content while encouraging their self-discovery. It’s an affordable and easily adaptable teaching method that is now being used in more than 70 schools across the US. She also frequently used the book “The Other End of the Stethoscope” to teach nursing values by helping students see things from a patient’s perspective to teach ethics, caring, and the importance of patient education.
In her 30-year academic career, Howe held several faculty and leadership roles during her time as a nurse. Most notably, Howe spent 12 years at Clemson University’s School of Nursing where she retired as an associate professor emerita before transitioning to her position as an undergraduate associate professor at UCF for the past three years. Howe received her BSN from the University of Texas before beginning her clinical career in intensive and critical care, the specialty she remained in for most of her time as a nurse. She also received her MSN from Texas Women’s University and her PhD from the University of South Carolina. Her special research interests included nursing and institutional history, nursing education strategies, pharmacogenomics, and deep tissue injury prevention and healing.
Howe was also an active member in several professional nursing organizations, both local and national, including serving on the NLN Board of Governors, President-elect of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Theta Epsilon Chapter, and an editorial board member for the journal Nursing Education Perspectives.
During her time at UCF, Howe served as the faculty mentor/consultant of the Student Nurses Association (SNA) chapter for UCF’s Orlando campus. The SNA chapter became an award-winning chapter under her leadership and earned state and national recognition for its commitment to community service in nursing. Howe also established a scholarship with her husband shortly before her death, the Elizabeth Marie Howe Memorial Endowed Nursing Scholarship, to support future NICU nurses in memory of their daughter who passed away after only a few short days of life. Memorial contributions can now be made to the scholarship fund in honor of Dr. Howe’s life, and her role as a nurse and educator.
DailyNurse is honoring Dr. Linda Howe as our Nurse of the Week.
Dr. Patricia D. Hurn was recently named the next dean for University of Michigan’s (U-M) School of Nursing, effective August 1st. She is the current vice chancellor for research and innovation and the executive officer of the University of Texas system. Dr. Hurn also holds the position of professor of nursing with tenure at the University of Texas. Hurn will be replacing Dean Kathleen Potempa, who will step down on July 31st after 10 years of service to U-M.
Dr. Hurn’s career in nursing began at the University of Florida where she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing before proceeding to the University of Washington for her master’s in nursing. Her academic career began after receiving her doctorate in physiology from Johns Hopkins. After receiving her PhD, Hurn went on to hold several faculty and research positions at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine, and found the Research Center for Gender-based Medicine there.
In her position of vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Texas System, Dr. Hurn serves as the chief health research officer for six health organizations. She is also a research professor in neurobiology at the UT College of Natural Sciences. Hurn’s work in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of gender differences in response to experimental brain injury is internationally known, and she is an internationally recognized researcher on stroke and other neurological conditions. She currently directs an interdisciplinary research laboratory, conducting biomedical research and applying findings to point-of-care patient applications.
Hurn’s leadership work focuses on collaborative bio-health research models, science education innovation, and research technologies. She has implemented university wide programs in faculty development, advanced women’s pursuits in science and medicine, and advocated collaboration. Her research experience includes being the principal investigator on more than $20 million in grant-supported research as well as co-investigator and collaborator on several innovative research projects. Dr. Hurn is looking forward to the opportunity to push U-M’s School of Nursing toward even greater scholarship, leadership in health care delivery, and innovation in education.
U-M is very pleased to accept Dr. Hurn as the new School of Nursing Dean, looking forward to her bringing her collaborative approach to leadership and translational research to expand the university’s innovative work in interprofessional health education.
An ongoing lack of qualified nursing faculty is impacting the nation’s ongoing nursing shortage as nursing schools across the country struggle with expanding fast enough to accommodate student demand.
According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) on Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 68,938 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2014 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints.
Freida Outlaw, PhD, RN, FAAN, an adjunct professor in the department of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, says the causes of the faculty shortage can be traced to several factors, including the advancing age of current faculty and compensation not keeping pace with the business sector.
“Many of the Baby Boomer generation are beginning to reach retirement age,” says Outlaw. “And those who are newer to the nursing profession are choosing to work in clinical nursing jobs because the pay is better.”
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the average salary of a nurse practitioner is $91,310. By contrast, the AACN reported in 2014 that a master’s-prepared faculty member earns an annual wage of $73,633.
In order to successfully recruit nurse faculty, Outlaw says nursing schools need to make salaries more comparable and consider new models of teaching.
“The Millennial generation is highly entrepreneurial and has different work expectations,” says Outlaw. “I think part of the solution is to offer potential nursing faculty flexibility, autonomy, and more of a clinician/educator role.”
For the past three years, Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, has utilized a clinician/educator model to increase the number of nursing faculty. The Professional Practice Clinician is a position where nursing faculty are required to have a master’s degree but aren’t mandated to serve on committees or conduct research. The college initiated the Professional Practice Clinician job to ease the transition for nurses who choose to move from a hospital to a classroom setting.
Creative Solutions to the Nursing Shortage
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a demand for 1.1 million new nurses over the next six years to fill 575,000 newly created positions, as well as a need to replace some 550,000 nurses who will retire by 2022.
In order to meet the demand for future nurses, many schools are engaging in creative solutions in an attempt to fill nurse faculty positions. Hospitals who partner with nursing schools to ease faculty shortages can also help themselves by being in the enviable position of having first crack at recruiting the school’s top graduates.
In Texas, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital has collaborated with Lone Star College-Montgomery for the past eight years in order to expand the college’s nursing program. As part of their partnership, the hospital covers the costs of an additional nursing faculty member for the college, allowing Lone Star to expand its nursing program.
The AACN reports that states are also taking action to ease the nursing faculty shortage. For example, two years ago, the state of Wisconsin announced a $3.2 million grant called the Nurses for Wisconsin Initiative that seeks to provide fellowships and loan forgiveness for nurses interested in teaching in the state after graduation. Led by the UW-Eau Claire School of Nursing, the Nurses for Wisconsin Initiative hopes to rapidly develop more nursing educators at UW campuses throughout the state.
Seeking a More Diverse Faculty Base
In addition to increasing nursing faculty, educators say diversity among nursing professors is also lacking. Elizabeth Florez, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the DePaul University School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois, says that while there is a great need for nursing professors overall, there is also a critical need to recruit more nurses from minority backgrounds as faculty members.
“We encourage master’s degree students to seek clinical instructor positions once they obtain sufficient nursing experience and to continue their advanced education to the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) or PhD level to obtain a faculty position,” Florez says. “Currently, DePaul University has a Bridges to PhD program, which is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded grant program affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago.”
Florez says the program is structured to increase the number of minority faculty with a PhD. Eligible DePaul nursing students enrolled in the master’s entry to nursing practice (MENP) program are able to apply to the Bridges to PhD program, and those who qualify will be provided with resources and support to ensure they are adequately prepared for the PhD program.
Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, an assistant professor in the family health care nursing department at the University of California, San Francisco, says she regularly hears about the lack of underrepresented minorities among nursing educators.
“Personally, I’ve never had a black faculty member for any course I’ve ever taken so I can relate,” says McLemore. “Students want and need to see role models who have been successful in nursing, and I’m extremely disappointed that more than 22 years after my initial nursing education, the numbers haven’t improved. “
To help increase the number of minority nurses in teaching, Johnson and Johnson and the AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars program provides financial support to graduate nursing students from minority backgrounds who agree to teach in a school of nursing after graduation. Students must be enrolled full-time and preference is given to those in doctoral programs. For application information, visit aacn.nche.edu/students/scholarships/minority.