Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012
From Staff Reports
The School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia will be able to educate more nurses for faculty roles in colleges and universities thanks to a $503,020 award through the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Nursing Faculty Initiative which is funded for two years.
The award will support the expansion of the School of Nursing’s wholly online new doctoral program — an Ed.D. degree in Nursing Education, increasing the number of students able to enroll by nearly 50 percent this first year. The Nursing Education Program is the only program of its type in Georgia and one of a few in the nation designed specifically to prepare nursing faculty.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) describes the issue: “Faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for professional registered nurses continues to grow. Budget constraints, an aging faculty, and increasing job competition from clinical sites have contributed to that crisis.”
In the USG’s Nursing Faculty Initiative Program’s request for proposals, it states: “As many as 40 percent of nursing faculty are nearing retirement age and may seek to retire in the coming years. Losing 40 percent of these faculty would have substantial negative impacts on the USG’s ability to educate ever increasing numbers of nursing students in an effort to meet pending shortages of [registered nurses] across the state.”
Dr. Kathryn Grams, dean of the School of Nursing and professor of nursing at UWG, said, “Because most of the Ed.D. students are employed full-time at other Georgia institutions, the online nature of this program will facilitate enrollment and completion of the program by nurses across the state. The program will prepare them specifically for the nurse faculty role.”
“A shortage of qualified nursing faculty further compounds the shortage of nurses,” said Grams. “Every program we have is at capacity. Since 2010 the number of applicants for all programs has increased and we are turning away more qualified applicants than ever before. Having more qualified nursing faculty will help us keep pace with the demand. ”
Grams added that the benefit to the Newnan Center of UWG and other locations is that more faculty will be prepared to teach.
USG Chancellor Henry M. Huckaby said in his letter to UWG President Beheruz N. Sethna, “Congratulations to your institution and faculty on the receipt of this award. With so many programs applying for this limited funding, it is a true statement of quality to receive this award.”
U.S. News and World Report ranked the School of Nursing’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program 14th in the nation in the area of student engagement and accreditation and 56th in the nation for student services and technology.
In addition to its online MSN and Ed.D. graduate degree programs, UWG’s School of Nursing offers two tracks for its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): one program for students seeking initial licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) and one partially online program for RNs seeking to advance their education to the baccalaureate level.
“We are very grateful to Governor Deal, the Georgia General Assembly and the University System of Georgia for their vision to mitigate the loss of nursing faculty due either to clinical job competition or retirement,” said Grams. “Together with their help, we are planting the seeds that can enable better healthcare in Georgia.”