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Despite a nationwide nursing shortage that continues to worsen, schools across the country are being forced to turn away qualified applicants due to a lack of nursing educators who are available to teach. Unable to expand class sizes, helping bridge the nursing shortage remains a challenging endeavor for nursing schools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the US nursing field will have more than one million vacancies by 2022, leaving hospitals to implement strategies to recruit and retain nurses. According to BeckersHospitalReview.com, nursing schools rejected over 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs in 2017. Community colleges, undergraduate, and graduate schools are all being forced to turn away prospective nursing students because they are unable to accommodate more students into their programs.

Class size in particular is a significant challenge for nursing schools that don’t have a sufficient number of nursing faculty or enough clinical space available to adequately train students. Another reason schools struggle to hire qualified nursing instructors is the high salaries being offered to working nurses. The US has an annual national nursing faculty vacancy rate of 7 percent, which is very high. The shortage amounts to over 1,500 nursing educators nationwide, about two teachers per school.

Despite the challenges, nursing schools are developing new strategies to allow them to accommodate more students. Many are addressing the nursing shortage by thinking out of the box with bridge programs like accelerated RN to BSN degree programs or programs for veterans with medical experience who want to pursue nursing careers. Many schools are also partnering with local hospitals so that hospital nursing staff can help teach and train students outside of the school setting.

To learn more about the reasons nursing schools are being forced to turn away qualified applicants despite being in the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage, visit here.

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