The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?
response by Sandra Clark to A Continuing Challenge: The Shortage of Educationally Prepared Nursing Faculty by Ada Sue Hinshaw, PhD, RN, FAAN (Jan. 31, 2001)
I write in response to Dr. Hinshaw's article, A Continuing Challenge: The Shortage of Educationally Prepared Nursing Faculty. She very perceptively addresses how the shortage of nurses and faculty are linked. However, an important aspect of the nursing faculty shortage is the failure to appreciate the strengths of Master's-prepared faculty. A considerable number of faculty came on board in schools of nursing 20 to 30 years ago, at a time when the terminal degree in nursing was the Master's Degree. Having spent many years teaching in schools of nursing, many of these faculty now find themselves judged as "not fully qualified" because they do not possess what is now considered the terminal degree in nursing, namely, the Doctoral degree. Unfortunately many of these faculty do not have the time, nor can they afford the cost, of returning to school to obtain their Doctoral degree. My students with a BSN will make more money when they walk out the door of our school of nursing than will the faculty persons who taught them. One needs to look at the Master's level faculty person having many years of experience as a very valuable asset to the faculty and to question the need for all faculty to have Doctoral preparation. Yes, research and scholarship are important, but so is providing direct care to the patient, which ultimately is what nursing is all about. I feel honored to be able to teach students how to take care of patients at the bedside.
Sandra Clark, MSN, RN