REASON BEHIND NEW JERSEY’S INCREASING NURSING SHORTAGE
There were reports about the growing nursing shortage across states causing escalating difficulties concerning staffing, New Jersey, in particular, is facing the same challenge too.
U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration projects, that New Jersey will have the third largest nurse shortage in the country by 2030 — a shortage of more than 11,000 people.
“With the past recession, nurses were putting off retiring so they stayed in the workforce a little longer. Now with an uptick in the economy, they’re beginning to retire and phase out of their career, so that’s what’s bringing us forward to an upcoming nursing shortage,” said Dr. Benjamin Evans, president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, in a report.
The main source of the crisis is the reality that schools of nursing are having their faculty age out as well, which means schools across the country are not able to take in as many students.
“We’re turning away qualified applicants in droves because we don’t have enough faculty to educate them,” said William Paterson nursing department chair and professor Dr. Nadine Aktan.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that in 2017 more than 56,000 qualified applications were turned away from undergraduate nursing programs across the country.
“Baby boomer nurses are retiring, faculty are aging out, many schools of nursing can’t take in large classes due to faculty restrictions,” Evans said.
Aktan says it’s a challenge to recruit a new faculty.
“You would have to have a masters or a doctoral degree, so you’re recruiting from a smaller pool of nurses. And because of the disparities in salary between clinical work and academic work, unfortunately there’s not always as much incentive to move into academic positions,” she said. “It’s going to get worse and worse, absolutely. It’s a big problem. This is why we need to look into federal grants and other financial resources so that we can not only support students through scholarships and other incentives to encourage them to go to nursing school, but that we can encourage nurses to go back and obtain higher degrees in nursing so they can become nurse practitioners or nurse faculty.”
Evans says there are two branches that are highly impacted in terms of the shortage: labor and delivery and the operating room.
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