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

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

February 23, 2004

in response by nursing student to  "Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers" by Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN (January 31, 2001)
with reply by author

Dear Editor:

In reading the article about the nursing shortage written by Cheryl Peterson, "Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers," I noted that there was one glaring problem, conspicuous by its absence from mention in the article, that exacerbates the nursing shortage.

Here is the problem: There is a huge group of students (including myself) who maintain a GPA of 3.5 or better in college, and who have demonstrated their commitment to become nurses through scholastic achievement and work experience in the healthcare professions. However, when we apply to nursing programs we are turned down. I personally find the "official" reason, namely the lack of nursing faculty, a shabby excuse, and some of the attitudes expressed by nursing faculty to be even shabbier.

The director of the nursing program at one of our local community colleges stated in a recent orientation session I attended that even if a student maintained a GPA of 3.8 or better, it may not be adequate to gain entrance to the program. Her attitude was not apologetic in the slightest. In fact, she went on to say that her staff would make it as difficult as possible for students in the program to successfully complete the program. The program, she explained, was the best in the state; and she intended to keep it that way.

This isn't the only nursing program director to voice such an attitude. There are six colleges in our area that have nursing programs. I'm hearing from others who have attended the orientation session at these schools that the directors are saying nearly the same thing.

Apparently, the fact that a student wants to become a nurse, and has the grades to qualify for admission into a nursing program, is of no consequence. Whatever a particular school's official line may be, a big part of the problem lies in the arrogant, elitist mentality of nursing program faculty.

In light of the disdain that nursing schools have shown aspiring students, who on earth would want to go through the emotional agony of earning a nursing degree? Let's be realistic here. When it comes to recruiting and educating the quantity and quality of nurses sufficient to meet the increasing demand, nurses are their own worst enemy.

Nurses, perhaps instead of bemoaning the fact that there's nobody out there to replace you, please look into tearing down this elitist attitude and regard aspiring students as the future of nursing, rather than a means to show individual school superiority.


A student hoping to become a nurse