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Barbara Doyer, lecturer in nursing and CSUF's nursing simulation laboratory coordinator, left, demonstrates lab equipment for Gina Semenza, field representative for Sen. Barbara Boxer's Los Angeles office. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Preparing Nursing Teachers

CSUF Responds to Nurse Educator Shortage by Offering New Master's Level Concentration

August 25, 2009

By Mimi Ko Cruz

In response to the shortage of nursing instructors at community colleges, Cal State Fullerton has created a new "nurse educator" concentration in the master of science degree in nursing program, said Cindy Smith Greenberg, chair of nursing.

She said faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for nurses continues to grow.

According to a survey released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing AACN last year, 814 faculty vacancies were identified at 449 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs across the country. Besides the vacancies, schools cited the need to create an additional 80 faculty positions to accommodate student demand. The data show a national nurse faculty vacancy rate of 7.6 percent, which translates to about 1.8 faculty vacancies per school.

Worsening faculty shortages in academic health centers are threatening the nation’s health professions educational infrastructure, according to a 2007 report by the Association of Academic Health Centers. Survey data show that 94 percent of academic health center CEOs believe that faculty shortages are a problem in at least one health professions school. The majority of CEOs identified the shortage of nurse faculty as the most severe followed by allied health, pharmacy and medicine.

Greenberg said that already five nursing graduate students have expressed interest in switching their concentration from nurse leadership to the new 42-unit nurse educator concentration. She said she anticipates admitting about 25 students next fall.

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