The $60,000 grant was made available
through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program at the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. The program provides loans to students enrolled in advanced
degree nursing programs who are preparing to serve as faculty.
Chair of Marshall’s
nursing school, Denise Landry said there is a distinct lack of nursing faculty
as well as practicing nurses.
“It all kind of ties together and it
feeds in on itself, the fact that overall there is a shortage of registered
nurses feeds into the shortage of faculty and then that cycle continues, if you
don’t have enough faculty you can’t admit enough qualified applicants that you
might otherwise been able to admit,” Landry said.
In March the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported that job growth in the healthcare sector was outpacing the
amount of nurses who graduated in 2011, accounting for one out of every 5 new
jobs created this year. Landry said there are various reasons for this.
“One of the reasons is that we’re seeing
an aging workforce, we’re seeing baby boomers retiring making more positions
available and in fact the reason we don’t have an even greater shortage is
because with the economy being the way it is, more people are staying in the
workforce and not retiring,” Landry said.
According to the “United States
Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast” published in the
January issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered
nurses is projected to spread across the country between 2009 and 2030.
shortage will be most intense in the South and West. Landry said the Southern
part of West Virginia will be hit especially hard.
“The literature is replete with studies
that show that when you have a nursing shortage you have poorer patient
outcomes, more patient errors medication errors and patient falls and it has a
direct impact on the quality of health care they receive,” Landry said.
Landry said it’s even harder to convince
nurses in the field to become professors, because they often have to take a pay
cut to teach.
Andrea Criss is a professor in Marshall’s
School of Nursing who is taking advantage of the Faculty Loan program.
“The lack of faculty members directly
affects me and the other faculty members because we have to pick up more
workload so you then get into job dissatisfaction and things like that, and
then we also hire in part-time faculty or adjunct faculty and that can directly
affect how students are satisfied with the program,” Criss said.
At Marshall the average age of nursing
professors is 51 with only 10 percent of the faculty under the age of 40. Criss
is in her second year as a professor.
In those rural areas to get to the
hospitals, like there is a small hospital in Webster County, to get to that
you’re going to take an hour or hour and a half, well if you take that away
then the closest is Summersville which could be two or three hours away,” Criss
graduation, Nurse Faculty Loan recipients may cancel up to 85 percent of the
loan over a consecutive four-year period if they serve as full-time nursing faculty.