It’s a well-known critical issue: by 2009, 64 percent of nurses are expected to reach retirement age, creating a nationwide shortage at a time when the demand for nurses is growing.
But there’s a major barrier to increasing the numbers of nurses in the workforce—a shortage of faculty members who can train the caregivers of the future.
Fortunately, the University of Iowa College of Nursing is working to stem the faculty shortage, shifting more emphasis toward preparing nursing faculty and clinical nurse leaders. As the state’s only institution that trains nurses at the advanced levels, it’s an important investment in the future health of Iowans.
“Our partners in nursing education already report a shortage of prepared faculty. This shortage contributes to their ability to admit students into their programs,” says Kathleen Hanson, associate professor and associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Nursing. “We recognized the need to act swiftly to step up the graduation of future faculty members.”
The college’s multifaceted plan, adopted last year, included the addition of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which prepares nurses to take leadership roles and faculty positions. The college has also enhanced its MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader degree, which opens another avenue to a nursing career for those who already have a bachelor’s degree. This 18-month program enables the college to graduate more nurses in less time because these students have already fulfilled core courses.
The UI College of Nursing has produced nursing leaders for generations. Graduates have gone on to become clinical specialists and scientists, educators and executives. And many of its programs are recognized as the best in the nation, including nursing service administration and gerontological nursing.
“As a state-supported entity, the college is committed to Iowa’s future nursing needs,” says Rita Frantz, dean of the College of Nursing. “We are also a thriving component of a research-intensive university. We have a responsibility and desire to continue with the dissemination of new knowledge, investing in the health and quality of life for Iowans.”
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