Nebraska's Nursing ShortageThe long and short of it. Huge waves of aging Baby Boomers will dramatically increase demand for nurses, pushing the already serious shortage of nurses to crisis stage in the years ahead. To address this critical need in Nebraska, it is imperative to educate more nurses.
- 3,838 — Projected Nebraska nursing shortage in 2020
- 808,000 — Projected U.S. nursing shortage in 2020
Perception vs. reality.
Many people think there’s a nursing shortage because people don’t want to go into nursing as a career. In fact, interest far exceeds capacity to educate. In Nebraska and throughout the U.S., qualified applicants are turned away because of insufficient faculty, facilities and resources.
The nursing pipeline squeeze: faculty.
The nationwide faculty shortage is a principal reason behind the U.S. nursing shortage. Teachers are in short supply, and many are nearing retirement age.
53 — Average age of nursing faculty at the UNMC College of Nursing.
54 — Average age of nursing faculty in the U.S.
The double downside for Nebraska’s communities.
The nursing shortage affects Nebraska border to border. No city or region is spared, and the penalty is most severe in small towns and rural areas. Lack of care impedes not just physical health but also economic health — the ability of communities to draw and hold residents and the businesses that employ them.
The University of Nebraska is working to address these shortages.
Three projects are planned to address shortages of nurses and nursing faculty.
- Norfolk Division, College of Nursing: This new facility, developed cooperatively with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Northeast Community College and regional hospitals, will provide six levels of nursing education, from certified nursing assistant to Ph.D. in nursing.
- The facility will serve approximately 118 nursing graduates per year: 50 associate degree, 48 bachelor’s degree, and 20 graduate-level students.
- A regional fund-raising campaign is under way; more than $10 million has been raised toward the $12.9 million cost of this new 35,000-sq.-ft. facility located on the NECC campus. It is tentatively set to open in 2010.
- Lincoln Division, College of Nursing: A new facility is planned on the East Campus of UNL to replace current rental facilities, which are inadequate in size and quality. This is the University’s highest priority for capital funding.
- The Lincoln Division currently turns away more than 60 percent of qualified applicants. The new facility will allow an annual projected increase of 64 more students, with an emphasis on masters and doctorally prepared nurses to take roles in advanced clinical specialization and as educators in the area’s nursing education programs.
- Omaha Division, College of Nursing: A new facility, made possible with private support, will add 60 percent more space for teaching and research. Capacity will expand over a 10-year period.
- By 2020, an additional 265 students will be enrolled (an overall 69% increase), with the largest growth in master’s and PhD students who will be future faculty and clinical and administrative leaders. 84 additional graduates will enter the workforce annually.