Dean Catherine Gilliss and team submitted a HRSA application entitled "Nurse Faculty Loan Program" requesting funding for a one-year period with a start date of July 1, 2012.
Within the sixteen states comprising the Southern Regional Education Board Council on Collegiate Education, there is a severe shortage of nursing faculty. According to the North Carolina Board of Nursing report on educational trends for 2010, there are 183 full-time nurse faculty vacancies and 136 part-time vacancies in North Carolina’s nursing programs. Of these full-time faculty vacancies, forty-two percent are in baccalaureate and forty-seven percent in associate degree nursing programs. Many of these programs are planning to increase student enrollment in response to the continuing shortage of nurses and the Institute of Medicine’s call for a higher proportion of BSN and doctorally prepared nurses.
However, the limited faculty available to teach in these programs presents a serious barrier to their expansion. Among the obstacles to addressing the expanded need for nurses are: (1) the lack of sufficient faculty positions, due to budget limitations; (2) insufficient number of qualified faculty to teach, due to preparation for the role of teacher; and (3) insufficient number of preceptors to supervise students in the clinical portion of the educational program. When faculty members are asked what types of resources are needed to increase enrollment in associate's or bachelor’s programs, the resource most often cited is “additional faculty positions.” Based on historical trends in nursing education patterns and the aging of the current nursing faculty in North Carolina, the gap between the need for faculty members in nursing education and the projected need is increasing. This gap is accelerated by the fact that the number of faculty members lost to retirement is not being replaced by new faculty positions. This trend is expected to further accelerate when economic conditions improve and those delaying retirement exit the workforce.