PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – Colleges in Rhode Island and across the country are facing a shortage of nursing faculty, which means there aren’t enough qualified professionals to teach thousands of nurses. students seeking to become health professionals.
Carolynn Masters, dean of the nursing program at Rhode Island College, says she has struggled for months to fill vacancies in her program which has historically graduated many of the nursing professions who have worked in the nursing industry. Rhode Island Health.
âHere at Rhode Island College, I have about five [full-time] open positions and in the past six months three of them are linked to retirements, âMasters said.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, tight budgets, retired baby boomers, and increasing competition for clinical site jobs are all contributing to the shortage.
Masters said Rhode Island College did not have enough qualified applicants to fill the vacancies. In most cases, it can take months or even a year to fill the niches, she added.
âPeople are retiring, but we don’t have the pipeline coming up, so although we see a high number of applicants for our [nursing] program, we don’t see a high number of applicants when we have vacancies, âMasters said.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the shortage of teachers and nurses in the United States, but the problem was escalating even before the public health crisis. More than 80,400 qualified students were turned away from nursing programs, and there were also 1,637 vacancies in nursing schools across the country in 2019, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Lynn Blais, RN and president of United Nurses and Allied Professionals, said declining faculty is contributing to the nursing shortage seen in Rhode Island hospitals. As Target 12 reported last month, the state’s nursing shortage is contributing to long emergency department wait times and a critical staff shortage that is worse than most states across the country. .
âIf we could create more faculty positions, you would be able to create an environment that allows people to go through the system and nurses back to hospitals,â Blais said. âThis would help alleviate the shortage. ”