Lack of Teachers + Classes Adds To Wisconsin’s Nursing Deficit
The numbers don't look good and there is no easy fix. The state of Wisconsin is facing a nursing deficit - just as the need to medical personnel rises. And the shortage has causes that you may not have thought about.
One of the main reasons for the deficit is the lack of available candidates graduating from nursing school. And it's not for lack of effort on the schools part.
Nursing schools across Wisconsin have struggled to increase enrollment as much as they can. But their efforts are being stymied by a shortage of staffing (teachers and faculty) and classroom availability.
An article in the Superior Telegram [paywall] offers the experiences as one college in the state as an example. Edgewood College School of Nursing in Madison has had to turn away prospective students - large numbers of them - due to available slots:
"Each year, Edgewood College's undergraduate nursing program receives about 200 applications for only 90 spots....forcing them to turn away more than half of the prospective students."
And Edgewood isn't alone; the situation is similar across the nation. "[A]ccording to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing schools turned away 80,407 qualified applicants in 2019".
The problem is frustrating - both for patients, medical facilities, and the nursing schools. Margaret Noreuil, Dean of Edgewood College's School of Nursing concurs:
"There's just no way we're ever going to really get out of the shortage. Most of the nursing programs...have increased their enrollment as much as they can. But without faculty and sites and class rooms, we're really limited on how much we can admit."
The problem is played out in the numbers. That article in the Telegram provides details "that there were 1,637 unfilled faculty positions across 892 nursing schools in the U.S.".
At the same time, there is a growing shortage of available nurses. "Preliminary data estimates that in 2021, roughly 11% of RN positions and 17% of CNA positions were unfilled". Those numbers are up from 6% and 9% respectfully in 2016.
One item that doesn't help is the disparity between what level of education is needed to practice and what level of education is needed to teach. Nurses generally only need an Associates or Bachelor's degree to staff at a hospital; meanwhile, nursing instructors need "at least a Master's Degree".