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Nursing teacher shortage causing strain on national and local programs

Illinois - A shortage of nursing instructors is having a major impact on healthcare.

The American Association of College of Nursing reports that in 2016, nearly 10,000 qualified students were turned away from masters programs and 2,000 were turned away from obtaining their doctorate. 

The primary reason is a lack of faculty. 

Nurses play an integral role in hospitals and with one on one patient care. 

For decades, nursing has climbed the ladder to become a distinguished profession, but for the last few years many factors have impacted a shortage of nursing teachers. 

"I think it's going to be a long term problem of attracting faculty as they age out and retire and the salary disparity is contributing to that," says Patti Stockert, President of St. Francis College of Nursing.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports nursing schools across the nation turned away 64,000 qualified applicants from getting their degrees in just one year.

"I think more and more people are going to apply to nursing programs and these statistics, just the most recent are not anything new," says Dr. Stockert. "It's the same number almost annually getting turned away because there's not faculty, classroom space or clinical site availability are the other two contributing factors."

Aging faculty, budget constraints, and an increase in job competition from clinicals are all contributing to the shortage.

Veteran Patti Stockert has seen these things first hand. 

"What's getting harder and harder to hire is faculty in specialty areas like psychiatric, mental health, maternal child, pediatrics, and OB are tough," says Dr. Stockert. 

Central Illinois sees this impact daily, but Dr. Stockert says quality patient care won't see the direct effects. 

"We're blessed to be in a region where we produce a lot of nurses and there's advanced programs."

Many states across our nation are implementing programs to combat the shortage.

The University of Wisconsin has implemented a $3.2 million dollar initiative to provide fellowships and loan forgiveness for future nursing faculty who agree to stay in state after graduation. 

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