Letter to the Editor by Lunsford on Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

June 20, 2006

response by Shirley Lunsford to "Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers" by Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN (January 31, 2001)

Dear Editor:

As a nursing student, I found the article "Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers," by Ms. Peterson to be very informative. I believe the best way to solve the nursing shortage would be to increase the supply of nursing faculty. In some cases this could be done by hiring as nursing faculty older nurses who have the appropriate nursing degrees but who no longer are able to work the floors. Increasing the number of nursing faculty will increase the number of students who can be admitted into nursing programs.

Many potential students, including myself, have recently experienced the "waiting game," i.e., waiting to receive the letter that says, "Congratulations, you have met the criteria to be admitted into our nursing program." Sometimes waiting for this letter to arrive can take as long as one to two years. I was recently thrilled to receive my letter informing me that I had been accepted into a nursing program.

Here are a few important tips for students who are waiting to be accepted into a nursing program:

  • Master algebra
  • Keep your grade point average around 3.5 - 4.0
  • Apply to a variety of schools
  • Use this waiting time to complete the general courses required by most nursing programs

These tips can facilitate students' progress through nursing school once they are accepted.

Tips for nursing schools who have students waiting for admission include:

  • Be up front with all students who have chosen nursing as a career, letting them know early on that they may need to wait for admission
  • Help students use this waiting time wisely by beginning to prepare themselves for the nursing courses

These tips can help students plan their careers in the best way possible while waiting to be accepted into a nursing program.

I am very excited about becoming a registered nurse now that I have been accepted. I eagerly look forward to working with experienced nurses who enjoy nursing. I think all nurses practicing today have something to offer to the new generation of nurses.

Shirley Lunsford

Ms. Lunsford was a student at the University of West Florida, Pensacola campus, when she wrote this letter. She is currently a student in the Jefferson Davis Community College Nursing Program, Brewton, AL sjlford@bellsouth.net