Grant aids nurse faculty shortage

Pandemic is a word brought crashing into the public consciousness within the last five years. SARS. Swine Flu. Bird Flu. West Nile Virus. Every public health scare brings home the importance of health care staff. Now, here is the rub. By 2010, Michigan will have a shortage of over 7000 nurses. In a time when baby boomers are getting older, illnesses are becoming more easily spread and health care is a visceral issue as never before, this shortage is provoking intense discussion. Some of this discussion has led to the creation of the Michigan Nursing Corps, a program from the Michigan state government to increase the amount of nursing faculty at schools around the state.

According to Michigan.gov, nursing programs are currently faced with a shortage of qualified faculty in their programs. This in turn leads to fewer students being admitted into nursing programs and a lower rate of graduates from the program, despite a large and growing interest from students wanting to pursue a degree in nursing. One of the Michigan Nursing Corps’ goals for 2009-2010 funding is to support educating nurses to become nurse educators thereby increasing the number of qualified nurse educators available to be hired by nursing programs. NMU’s School of Nursing was the recipient of some of the Nurse Corps Funding which is being used to support a Post Master’s Nurse Educator Certificate Program. Associate Professor, Julie Higbie, is the director of the grant.

“The ideal situation is for us to be able to educate nurses who desire a position as a faculty member. Hopefully we will be able to hire some of the graduates of this program to teach in our nursing programs which in turn would allow us to increase the number of students in our programs,” said Higbie. “We are looking at ways we can be creative and admit more students into our programs.” 

For more information about the School of Nursing, call 227-2834.