A recent report by the American HospitalAssociation indicates that there are 116,000 vacancies for registerednurses in hospitals. Another 100,000 job vacancies arereported in nursing homes and 19,400 in long-term care settings,bringing the total nursing vacancies to more than 235,000.
And, we expect to see things worsen. Minerva Guttman, director of FDU’s Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health, notes, “The population is getting older, they are living longer, and they have more chronic illnesses.” As baby boomers age, they require more frequent medical care for more serious conditions.
Simultaneously with the increased demand for health care, a significant pool of nurses is approaching retirement age. Peter Buerhaus, a well-known nursing professor at Vanderbilt University who has studied changes in the nursing workforce since the early 1980s, reports that the average age of working nurses hovers close to 45. If trends continue, he predicts, “by 2025 the country could see a deficit of 260,000 nurses.”
Jobs Without Applicants
The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, based at the University of Pennsylvania, has reported that 30,000 new nurses are needed annually to meet the nation’s growing health care demands. That is a 30 percent increase. However, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses, there had only been a 3.5 percent increase in enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs for 2008–2009. But it is not for lack of interest.
Faculty levels in schools of nursing are greatly constraining the number of students admitted. In 2009, U.S. schools of nursing turned away almost 40,000 qualified applicants, including nearly 6,000 people seeking master’s and doctoral degrees. As with working nurses, “the graying of the nursing faculty,” is also a factor says Elizabeth Parietti, associate professor of nursing and associate director of FDU’s graduate nursing program. As more faculty retire, new qualified faculty are needed to replace them.
CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR Laly Joseph, BSN'93 (T), MSN'02 (T), demon-
strates nursing techniques using a simulated patient.
FDU has taken an important role in addressing this challenge with the help of a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through its New Jersey Nursing Initiative, the foundation has provided millions of dollars toward the development of programs to prepare clinically expert nursing faculty. FDU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health, as lead institution, along with Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., and Bloomfield College, has received a $2.5 million grant toward this end.
The Robert Wood Johnson grant is being used to develop a model that integrates nursing practice with faculty positions. “It is taking students who want to become nurse practitioners and have an interest in teaching and combining the two roles,” says Parietti. “When they graduate they will be able to sit for certification as a nurse practitioner, but they will also will be prepared as educators.”
The program is funding 46 such scholars, who, as a stipulation of the grant, will be required to teach nursing full time in New Jersey after completion of their degrees. “That’s going to be a great shot in the arm for nursing programs in the state,” Parietti comments. FDU’s grant recipients are enrolled in the master of science in nursing program.
In addition, FDU offers a doctor of nursing practice (DNP)degree, which was developed with a $250,000 seed grant fromBD, the legacy company of the late FDU trustee Henry P.Becton, for whom the school of nursing is named (see page 7).Recently, BD provided FDU with an additional $25,000 forfellowships in the program, which now numbers 68 students.The federal government, through the Health Resourcesand Services Administration, is providing nursing faculty loansas part of its economic stimulus package. “Under this $150,000grant, students who enter FDU’s MSN in nursing education oradult nurse practitioner program with a specialization in educationcan take out loans. “For each year they spend teaching in anursing school after their degree, a portion of that loan will beforgiven,” says Guttman.
A World of Opportunities
Nursing Programs at FDU