Creating Long-Term Solutions to the Nurse Faculty Shortage: Using Qualitative Data
Fox, Diane Porretta
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Session presented on Saturday, April 9, 2016, and Friday, April 8, 2016: This is a time of scarce resources for nursing faculty hiring and retention. A qualitative study used to investigate the nurse faculty shortage identified the necessity of a long term solution. Reflection by nursing education administrators was used to examine the problem. Addressing the nurse faculty shortage has been identified by Benner et al. (2010) as necessary improving nursing education. Qualitative data was gathered using an inductive inquiry, making meaning of the complex nurse faculty shortage. Prior to this study three studies were uncovered reporting long-term strategies as solutions to the nurse faculty shortage (Dunham-Taylor et al., 2007; Stuart et al., 2010; Kowalski & Kelly, 2013). The qualitative data created six cases exploring strategies for dealing with the nurse faculty shortage from a convenience sample in one state. The nursing education leaders were from schools of nursing offering pre-licensure Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. A looming nurse faculty shortage adds urgency to creating long-term solutions to the nurse faculty shortage. A significant barrier to faculty recruitment and retention cited in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (October, 2013) Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions for Academic Year 2013-14 was high faculty workload. The barriers to hiring faculty are known. More importantly, the ascent of nurse faculty retirements was expected to begin in 2015 (Seila, et al., 2008). This qualitative study found the most common need, identified by the interviewee, was for faculty to replace retiring faculty. Constructing meaning through reflection upon the data gathered resulted in several aspects related to successful strategies to improve the nurse faculty shortage problem. These aspects include the need to identify 'nurse faculty trends' (Falk, 2014, p. 41). Also, frequently easy quick fixes are implemented while ignoring root causes of the problem (Kowalski & Kelley, 2013). "Although national strategies to address the nursing shortage continue to emerge, it is often at the state level where practice and education are regulated" (Green, Kishi, & Esperat, 2010, p.2). Ensuring a BSN registered nurse workforce that is adequate to care for U.S. patients depends on creating and implementing long-term solutions to the nurse faculty shortage. This study reveals the need for solutions to the nurse faculty shortage and the strategies to attain them will involve more than just the nursing educational leaders, faculty, and students.