In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) engaged in a movement to encourage advanced practice nurses to pursue doctorate degrees. There were many reasons for this:
- The complex healthcare environment in the United States requires practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes.
- Nursing is moving in the direction of other health professions that require practice doctorates, such as medicine (MD), dentistry (DDS), pharmacy (PharmD), psychology (PsyD), physical therapy (DPT) and audiology (AudD).
- There are national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety, and shortages of nursing personnel qualified to design/assess care.
- Across the nation, there is a shortage of doctorally prepared nursing faculty.
A Need for Nurse Educators
Following the publication of AACN’s Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing, many other organizations put forth calls to action of their own. The National League for Nursing, the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education, shared in its 2013 publication, “A VISION FOR Doctoral Preparation for Nurse Educators,” that preparing nurse educators is vital advancing our country’s health:
“The nursing profession supports the importance of preparing faculty to be expert practitioners, skilled in knowledge generation or knowledge translation related to advancing the science of nursing practice.”
A Massive Shortage
In spite of great demand for professional registered nurses, AACN explains that nationwide faculty shortages are limiting student capacity. In fact, in 2016, nursing schools in the U.S. turned away more than 64,000 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs due to a lack of faculty, clinical sites, preceptors, classroom space, and more. Bottom line: demand for programs outpaces supply of faculty to teach in them.
1) A wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. in the next decade.
2) Clinical and private-sector settings offer higher compensation, luring potential (and current) nurse educators away from teaching.
3) Master’s and doctoral programs are not producing enough nurse educators—and applicants are turned away largely due to a shortage of faculty and clinical education sites (a cyclical problem).
1) There is a great need for faculty who are capable of preparing future nurses to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing health care system.
2) Doctorally prepared nurse educators are needed to develop and incorporate evidence-based approaches to coordinated care within programs of learning.
3) Doctorally prepared nurse educators are needed to expand graduates’ views of patient-centered care, population-based care, and team-centered coordination during care transitions.
4) Nurse educators who understand and implement discipline-specific pedagogy are the vital link to a future workforce that will lead health care reform.
Explore the DNP Educational Leadership at American Sentinel University
AACN explains, “Given the growing shortage of nurse faculty, the job outlook for those seeking careers in nursing education is bright with a growing demand for individuals needed to teach in schools of nursing, hospitals, public health agencies, and other settings.”
American Sentinel offers a practice-focused online DNP Educational Leadership program that prepares nurses to lead and teach in nursing education programs. Students gain the skills and knowledge to educate the next generation of nurses and lead the academic and educational initiatives in healthcare organizations.
If you are interested in learning more about the DNP Educational Leadership, we invite you to attend an open house! We’ll share more about our program and our newly approved Nurse Faculty Loan Program, a U.S. Public Health Service, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant program, which will help American Sentinel fund more DNP Educational Leadership and MSN Nursing Education students. We’d love to discuss this opportunity how you can contribute to the field of nursing by helping alleviate the nursing faculty shortage.