Nationwide shortage of nursing school educators evident at Clark College

first_imgCongratulations are exchanged in the hallways. There’s champagne assembled on a table near the stage. Parents carry bouquets, and students wear suits and dresses at the Clark College School of Nursing’s pinning ceremony at Gaiser Hall on the Clark College Campus in Vancouver.The pinning ceremony is a favorite event for nursing school professors Lisa Aepfelbacher and Mary Ellen Pierce. On Wednesday, the school propelled 34 students into one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., but those students left behind a group of teachers who are experiencing the exact opposite workforce trend: a nationwide shortage.While the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nursing to grow by 15 percent through 2026 at a “much faster than average” pace for all occupations, nursing school faculty is declining across the U.S. due to retirements and higher compensation offered in clinical and private-sector settings.As of 2016, the American Association of College Nurses reported that there were 1,567 faculty vacancies identified across 821 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs. It’s expected that by 2022, more than 34,200 new educators will be needed.“It’s an issue across the state and the nation,” said Clark College President Bob Knight.A nationwide problem at the local levelAt Clark College, faculty and administrators have grappled with how to attack the issue, which has been exacerbated by recent staff departures.last_img read more