One of the problems that is helping to cause a much publicized national nursing shortage also seems to be a hiccup in the remedy.
A lot of baby boomer nurses are retiring, which not only has led to a nurse staffing crunch in some areas but also means a loss of qualified faculty for many nursing programs, putting a squeeze on the ability to admit more students.
Deb Green, chair of the nursing department at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, said it’s an issue for nursing programs everywhere, and one SMC will have to manage when it wants to ramp up admissions for its newly expanded Nursing and Health Education Building.
The nursing shortage helped to propel the expansion project, with one goal being to eventually expand admissions, Green said.
Green noted it’s not a matter of just finding faculty, though, but finding faculty who also have the clinical experience required to teach, which is needed to maintain program accreditation.
A key driver of a projected nursing shortage is aging baby boomers, all of whom will be older than age 65 in 2030, according to census data. Just as the elder population in need of health care is growing, many nurses from that same generation are retiring.