Nursing faculty needed to support more students

Celina Hutchens

High enrollment creates demand for teachers

The College of Nursing faculty gave its budget at its Academic Affairs Priority Presentation yesterday morning, discussing the scarcity of faculty members and the increasing enrollment of students.

Julie E. Johnson, dean of the College of Nursing, spoke of the importance of understanding enrollment growth on all the campuses at Kent State. She said once students are admitted into the nursing program at a specific campus, they are to remain on that campus.

“We worked very hard in collaborating to offer all three years of the bachelor’s degree at all campuses,” Johnson said.

The Kent campus received 430 applicants to the college this past fall, and only 225 were accepted. In comparison with the regional campuses, the trend shows only half of the applicants are accepted. The average admission GPA for the college at the main campus is a 3.388.

Johnson said the nursing program is in high demand and received many applications from highly qualified individuals for the program, but those individuals have been turned down only on the basis of faculty shortage.

Shortage of faculty, availability of clinical placements and the accreditation mandate are reasons why Kent State is not increasing admissions into the program, Johnson said.

“I see challenges ahead not of recruiting faculty, but of hiring certified faculty,” she said.

More than 47 percent of certified nurse educators are projected to retire in 10 years and 72 percent will retire in 15 years, according to statistics released by the nursing department.

Nursing is the fastest growing health occupation in the country, but the Bureau of Health Professions projects a shortage of 1.4 million nurses by the year 2014. This is due to the increasing population and aging of current nurses.

“The critical shortage of faculty is due to the non-competitive salaries with the clinical settings,” Johnson said. “The faculty salary is falling short of the national average.”

Kathleen Huttlinger, associate dean of the College of Nursing, said the presentation did a good job of hitting the high points of faculty shortage. She expressed her concern with faculty leaving the university for more high-paying jobs elsewhere.

“Internally, we are doing everything we can statewide to bring in salary so they don’t take clinical jobs,” Huttlinger said.

Contact medicine reporter Celina Hutchens at [email protected].