Reply by Peterson to student on Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers

February 23, 2004

in response to letter by Student on Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers by Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN (Jan 31, 2001)

Dear Student:

Thank you for your letter regarding the prerequisites for entering nursing school. The shortage of nursing faculty is a well established reality within the profession - not necessarily a "shabby excuse." This issue is separate from the other issue you raise about the attitudes of nursing faculty. Nursing has always sought to attract the best and the brightest. This in and of itself is not elitist; it is a recognition of the academic rigor of nursing school and the role and responsibilities that come with the profession. However, this does not give license to attitudes that are disdainful of aspiring students.

Nursing leaders know that your first true impression of the profession comes while you are in school. Clearly, this first impression must be one that reflects a nurturing and welcoming environment. It pains me to know that your first impression has not been a positive one, but I do hope that you will persevere and, if you have not already done so, challenge the "elitist" attitude should you encounter it again.

Cheryl A. Peterson, MSN, RN