The United States is facing a critical shortage in all health care professions. With the nation’s baby boomer population approaching retirement age, the issue is twofold: the aging population requires more care, and the nation’s physicians, nurses, and other health professionals are retiring.
Too Many Students, Not Enough Options
The solution to filling this gap is replacing the departing health care professionals with nursing graduates of all academic levels. However, many higher education institutions are turning away suitable candidates in droves. In 2016, nursing degree programs in the U.S. rejected 64,067 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs alike citing a lack of budget, faculty, clinical sites and preceptors, and classroom space.
Currently, there is a serious shortage of physicians, which continues to grow. By 2025, there will be a projected deficit of nearly 35,600 primary care doctors alone. Nursing schools are facing the struggle and strain to increase the capacity of existing nursing programs, and explore other avenues like online courses and accreditation.
Higher Education Means Higher Pay
Enrollment is increasing in nursing masters and doctoral programs across the country, and it’s no wonder that nurses are applying to graduate schools en masse. RNs realize there are significant perks to training and becoming an advanced practice registered nurse. Evidence shows that the quality of care by an advanced practice nurse is comparable to physicians, while often more affordable.
The full-time annual salary for a Nurse Practitioner (NP) averages $105,546. The high pay range of the NP may be partly to blame for the faculty shortage—higher compensation in the clinical setting is luring potential educators away from teaching.
Most vacant faculty positions require a terminal nursing degree. If more nurses pursue a doctoral degree, the faculty shortage will be alleviated. What will the outcomes of the nursing shortage be? Only time will tell.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife and freelance writer. She has ten years of nursing experience and graduated with a MSN from Frontier Nursing University.
The Indiana University Board of Trustees recently approved a new online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program through Indiana University (IU) Bloomington. The IU School of Nursing is based at IUPUI, which includes IU Fort Wayne and IU Bloomington.
Graduate education for the IU School of Nursing is only offered on campus, so the new program will increase access to graduate education in nursing and open greater opportunities for Indiana nursing students to meet the growing demands for nurses to obtain advanced degrees.
Students can complete the program in two years as a full-time student or three years as a part-time student. The master’s degree prepares students for admittance to doctoral nursing programs, or to careers as clinical faculty members or patient education professionals.
Now that the Board of Trustees has approved the new degree, the university is awaiting final approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. To learn more about IU Bloomington’s new online Master of Science in Nursing degree program, visit here.
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The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) recently relaunched two of its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) speciality programs. The newly redesigned Nursing Informatics and Nursing and Health Care Leadership programs are now accepting applications for fall 2019.
Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, VUSN dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing, tells Nursing.Vanderbilt.edu, “Nursing, perhaps above all professions, understands the need to periodically revise procedures and direction so that they incorporate the best practices, thinking and evidence. We recently re-evaluated these two specialties to determine if there were newer or better ways to serve our students and prepare them for leadership roles.”
The redesign included making both specialty programs part time only, drawing in more registered nurses who want to work full time while working toward their master’s degree. The program will be offered in an online format that allows students to complete their degree requirements without relocating or leaving their job. On-campus interactive immersion experiences will also be incorporated periodically, in addition to distance learning activities like online conferencing and video-streamed lectures.
The Nursing Informatics program will incorporate curricular changes including newly emerging informatics competencies and innovations, as well as customized practicum experiences. The leadership specialty has been renamed the Nursing and Health Care Leadership program based on feedback from nursing professionals who wanted a program that incorporates stronger experiential learning, new collaborations with nursing informatics, and a focus on real-world learning.
To learn more about the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s newly redesigned MSN programs in Nursing Informatics and Nursing and Health Care Leadership, visit here.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) recently introduced a new Master of Science dual degree program in nursing administration and healthcare informatics. The program will prepare nurses for entry into management positions in healthcare organizations, and foster skill development in planning, designing, and implementing information technologies.
SIUE’s dual degree program provides a unique opportunity for experienced nurses to leverage their prior education and experience to improve their leadership skills by using technology to improve patient healthcare options.
Frank Lyerla, SIUE healthcare informatics director, stated in a press release: “In 2008, less than 10 percent of acute care hospitals were using electronic medical records. Today, that percentage is nearing 100 percent! Graduates of our dual degree program will be well situated for leadership positions in two fields that are growing and in high demand.”
The dual degree nursing program opens up new career opportunities to guide and lead fellow nurses by becoming a nurse manager or healthcare executive. Graduates will be prepared to analyze and interpret clinical data and work with other health professionals to plan, implement, and optimize healthcare information systems to aid in training, project management, and leadership within an organization.
To learn more about SIUE’s new dual program in Nursing Administration and Healthcare Informatics, visit here.