The Need for Nursing Educators


For those Concorde Nursing graduates looking to delve into another area of the field, you might think about teaching.

Nursing educator needs are growing. According to recent statistical analysis compiled by the Duquesne University School of Nursing, 36 percent of candidates could not get into a bachelor of science in nursing program, 45 percent could not get into an associate program and 28 percent could not get into a diploma program.

These applicants applied to nursing schools, but were rejected even if they were qualified. Budget constraints, limited classroom space, issues with availability of clinical sites and the like are challenges. So are faculty size and lack of clinical preceptors.

Supply and demand in Nursing

The shortage of nursing educators corresponds directly with the rising demand for nurses, according to Lu-Ping Gamble, RN, MSN, PhDEd., Vocational Nursing Program Director at Concorde's campus in Garden Grove, Calif.

She cited the Duquesne University study of factors that are contributing to this nursing shortage.

  1. Retirement of the current generation of nurses. By the year 2022, 500,000 nurses will have retired. That leaves a huge manpower requirement for trained nurses to fill. Failure to address this need could have serious repercussions for the health care industry.
  2. Senior citizen population is expected to rise. It is estimated that the number of senior citizens - those aged 65 and older - will reach 69 million by 2030. This is an increase of 75 percent over the next 20 years. The number of senior citizens is expected to reach around 88.5 million by the year 2050. These senior citizens have unique health care needs, most of which require the services of trained and skilled nurses.
  3. Increase in chronic diseases. The National Council on Aging estimates that 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from at least one chronic condition.

Nurse educators need to have excellent communication skills and display a commitment to lifelong learning. Each nursing educator can only take 8-15 students at a clinical setting, per regulation. They need to be able to plan educational programs for students with various levels of ability. They can also develop and manage resources to support the learning environment.

"A Nursing educator's career extends beyond a salary," Gamble said. "They give the gift of knowledge that will save lives."

Some challenges of hiring Nursing educators

Carol Carotenuti, RN, MSN/Ed, VN Program Director at Concorde's campus in San Diego, said she's been having a difficult time hiring Nursing educators. She cites several reasons why.

  1. Most candidates have full-time jobs and want to supplement their income with a teaching job. They do not want to commit to a full-time position or even part-time because educators' salaries are not comparable to what they get in the field. Many do not want to work evenings or weekends when Concorde offers some of its classes.
  2. Most candidates that have been applying are not young, and they do not have a lot of current hospital experience to give to students.
  3. There are regulations requiring one year recent experience in Nursing, a teaching certificate for adult learners, an active RN license and, preferably, a BSN or MSN degree.

"I have been very fortunate in my team of nursing instructors, because I have very little turnover," Carotenuti said. "Many have been teaching a long time. They are committed to our students and preparing them to take over in our places as we get ready to retire."

"Money is definitely not the motivating factor in working in the education field. I like to see the brand new student rise in their education and keep moving up the ladder to success."


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