AACN Fact Sheet - Nursing Faculty Shortage (2023)

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(Video) There is No Nursing Shortage: Here's the Real Issue | Nurse Practitioner Reacts
(Video) Nurse Faculty Shortage

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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 this crisis.

To minimize the impact of faculty shortages on the nation’s nursing shortage, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is leveraging its resources to secure federal funding for faculty development programs, collect data on faculty vacancy rates, identify strategies to address the shortage, and focus media attention on this important issue.

Scope of the Nursing Faculty Shortage

  • According to AACN’s report on 2021-2022 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 91,938 qualified applications from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2021 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints. Most nursing schools responding to the survey pointed to faculty shortages as a top reason for not accepting all qualified applicants into their programs.
  • According to a Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions released by AACN in October 2022, a total of 2,166 full-time faculty vacancies were identified in a survey of 909 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs across the country (84.4% response rate). Besides the vacancies, schools cited the need to create an additional 128 faculty positions to accommodate student demand. The data show a national nurse faculty vacancy rate of 8.8%. Most of the vacancies (84.9%) were faculty positions requiring or preferring a doctoral degree.

Factors Contributing to the Faculty Shortage

Faculty age continues to climb, narrowing the number of productive years educators teach.

According to AACN's report on 2021-2022 Salaries of Instructional and Administrative Nursing Faculty, the average ages of doctorally prepared nurse faculty holding the ranks of professor, associate professor, and assistant professor were 62.5, 56.7, and 50.6 years, respectively. For master's degree-prepared nurse faculty, the average ages for professors, associate professors, and assistant professors were 55.0, 54.7, and 48.6 years, respectively.

A wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. over the next decade.

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According to an article published in Nursing Outlook on Retirements and Succession of Nursing Faculty in 2016-2025 by Drs. Di Fang and Karen Kesten, one third of the current nursing faculty workforce in baccalaureate and graduate programs are expected to retire by 2025. This finding underscores the urgency for the nursing education community to address the impending exodus of senior faculty and to develop younger faculty for succession.

Higher compensation in clinical and private-sector settings is luring current and potential nurse educators away from teaching.

According to the latest Nurse Salary Research Report issued by Nurse.com, the median salary across advanced practice registered nurse roles is $120,000. By contrast, AACN reported in March 2022 that the average salary for a master’s-prepared professors in schools of nursing is $87,325.

Master’s and doctoral programs in nursing are not producing a large enough pool of potential nurse educators to meet the demand.

In April 2022, AACN reported that for the first time since 2001, enrollment inmaster’s programsdecreased by 3.8%, which translates to 5,766 fewer students enrolled in 2021 than in 2020.In addition, enrollment in PhD nursing programs were also down. Since PhD program enrollment began to dip in 2013, enrollment in these programs have decreased by 13%, from 5,145 students in 2013 to 4,476 students in 2021.

Further, efforts to expand the nurse educator population are frustrated by the fact that thousands of qualified applicants to graduate nursing programs are turned away each year. In 2021, AACN found that 9,574 qualified applicants were turned away from master's programs, and 5,169 qualified applicants were turned away from doctoral programs. The primary reasons for not accepting all qualified students were a shortage of faculty, preceptors, and clinical education sites.

Strategies to Address the Faculty Shortage

  • AACN is taking steps to address the nurse faculty shortage by working with the Jonas Philanthropies to support doctoral nursing students; by advocating for new federal legislation and increased funding for graduate education; hosting an annual faculty development conference; collecting data to quantify the scope of the shortage; promoting faculty careers through the Graduate Nursing Student Academy; and collaborating with national nursing organizations and practice partners to help identify solutions.
  • Since 2008, the Jonas Philanthropies has focused on expanded the nation’s supply of doctoral-prepared nurses available to serve as faculty, scientists, and clinicians. Administered in collaboration with AACN, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program has provided financial support and leadership development to more than 900 Scholars in all 50 states.
  • Many statewide initiatives are underway to address the shortage of nurse educators. For example, the Maryland Higher Education Commission has provided nearly $27 million to support 938 nurse faculty members through a variety of programs, including the New Nurse Faculty Fellowship Program. This program is funded by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and supported by an annual percentage of Maryland hospitals’ patient revenue. In October 2022, Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that $1.75 million would be included in his budget request to hire 39 new instructor positions to help address the state’s severe faculty shortage and support nursing programs statewide. Read more about initiatives underway in Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • To increase the number of clinical nurse educators, which are also known as preceptors, several states including Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia offer tax incentives for nurses serving in these teaching roles. Legislations has also been introduced or is pending in New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
  • Schools of nursing are forming academic-practice partnerships and working collaboratively with other stakeholders to bridge the faculty gap. For example, in April 2022 HCA Healthcare announced a $1.5 million partnership with Florida International University to address national nursing faculty shortage.
  • In January 2021, the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) has released its 17th annual report to Congress titled Preparing Nurse Faculty and Addressing the Shortage of Nurse Faculty and Clinical Preceptors. NACNEP is calling on a public-private response to develop, support, and fund a wide range of initiatives to address the shortage of nurse faculty and enhance nursing education and training. The NACNEP report calls on Congress to focus on three priorities to fully address this perennial concern, including:
    • Provide funding to programs that increase the number of nurse faculty and clinical preceptors and support nurse faculty development.
    • Provide funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a nurse faculty residency program that emphasizes strategies to improve faculty recruitment, preparation, development, and retention.
    • Create a national center devoted to nursing education and the development of nurse faculty and clinical preceptors.
  • The federal government administers several programs specifically targeted to addressing the nurse faculty shortage:
    • Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Nurse Faculty Loan Program assists graduate students pursing faculty careers. Students must agree to teach at a school of nursing in exchange for cancellation of up to 85% of their educational loans, plus interest, over a four-year period.
    • The Faculty Loan Repayment Program administered by HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce provides up to $40,000 in loan repayment for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who serve as faculty at eligible health professions schools for a minimum of two years.
    • HRSA’s Nurse Corps Repayment Program provides nurse faculty who commit to working in an eligible nursing school with up to 60% in debt cancellation for two years of services, and an additional 25% for a third year of service.
    • In October 2022, the Department of Labor announced a new $80 million initiative, the Nursing Expansion Grant Program, which includes funding for the Nurse Education Professional Track to prepare experienced current or former nurses for teaching roles.
    • The Department of Education routinely identifies programs that prepare nurse faculty as eligible for funding through the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program.
  • AACN operates NursingCAS, the nation’s centralized application service for prelicensure and graduate nursing programs. One of the primary reasons for launching NursingCAS was to ensure that all vacant seats in schools of nursing are filled. In 2021, more than 14,700 vacant seats were identified in master’s and doctoral nursing programs alone. NursingCAS provides a mechanism to fill these seats and maximize the educational capacity of schools of nursing.

Recent Articles on the Faculty Shortage

Last Update: October 2022


Robert Rosseter
(202) 463-6930, ext. 231

(Video) Fast-tracking education may help with nursing shortage


What factors are contributing to the nursing shortage? ›

What is Causing the Nursing Shortage?
  • Retiring nurses or those choosing to leave the profession.
  • The aging population necessitates increasing the level of care patients require.
  • A nursing faculty shortage capping pre-licensure admission capacity.
  • Nursing burnout.
26 Feb 2021

What is a good thesis statement for nursing shortage? ›

Thesis Statement Research suggests that the nursing profession faces shortages because of insufficient potential educators and high turnover in the sector.

Where is the largest nursing shortage? ›

California has the worst nursing shortage in the United States. It's predicted that by 2030, California will be in need of over 44,000 nurses. Other states with major hospital staff shortages include New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Arizona.

How can we solve the nursing shortage problem? ›

The nursing shortage cannot be solved unless higher education institutions train more nurses. Research and interviews with experts present ample evidence that capacity within higher education is significantly lower than what is needed.

Why are nurses leaving the profession? ›

Staffing shortages were the top reason nurses cited for planning to leave their jobs, followed by needing better work-life balance, the survey out Tuesday said. Nurses also said they planned to leave their roles because their mental health is at risk and they feel a lack of appreciation.

What action most directly addresses the projected nursing shortage? ›

What action most directly addresses the projected nursing shortage? selecting personnel.

What is a catchy thesis statement? ›

3. A strong thesis statement is specific. A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say: World hunger has many causes and effects.

What are the 3 things a thesis statement must include? ›

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:
  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree.
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment.
  • express one main idea.
  • assert your conclusions about a subject.

What state has highest demand for nurses? ›

The States With the Largest Projected Employment Growth
RankState NameProjected RN Employment Growth
4New York24.6%
6 more rows

Where are RNs needed the most? ›

1. San Francisco, CA. As the highest paying city for nurses, San Francisco offers plenty of job opportunities and generous salaries to help offset the high cost of living.

Where are nurses paid the most? ›

California tops our list of the highest-paying states, where registered nurses make $124,000 per year on average. Following it is Hawaii, at $106,530, and Oregon at $98,6300. Washington, D.C., while not technically a state, also ranks among the top-paying U.S. regions with an average RN salary of $98,540.

How can staff shortages be resolved? ›

Five ways to overcome skills shortages
  1. Invest in training. ...
  2. Expand the search. ...
  3. Consider taking on apprentices. ...
  4. Rethink the workforce. ...
  5. Focus on staff retention.

How can staff shortages be overcome? ›

How to Manage a Staffing Shortage
  1. Act on Employee Feedback. ...
  2. Implement Reskilling and Upskilling Initiatives. ...
  3. Promote Work-Life Balance. ...
  4. Improve Your Company Culture. ...
  5. Increase Company Perks and Benefits. ...
  6. Hire Short-Term Workers. ...
  7. Continue to Build a Strong Team.

How can we solve shortage of staff in healthcare? ›

These include: Adjusting staff schedules, hiring additional HCP, and rotating HCP to positions that support patient care activities. Cancel all non-essential procedures and visits. Shift HCP who work in these areas to support other patient care activities in the facility.

How old are most nurses when they retire? ›

For nurses with time to plan, the prospect of an early or timely retirement with a properly sized financial portfolio and social security benefits appeals to them when they reach the current full retirement age of about 67 years or even before at 62 years (without full social security benefits).

How long does the average nurse stay in the profession? ›

There are many reasons that nurses leave the profession and there are many overlapping systems within healthcare. But, one study found that a staggering 17% - 30% of new nurses leave their job within the first year and up to 56% leaving within the second year.

How old is the average nurse? ›

In the United States, the average age of a registered nurse was 43.5 years old.
Distribution of registered nurses in the United States in 2019, by age group.
CharacteristicNumber of registered nurses
11 more rows
3 May 2021

What are 5 barriers to communicating effectively in nursing? ›

Competing demands, lack of privacy, and background noise are all potential barriers to effective communication between nurses and patients.  Patients’ ability to communicate effectively may also be affected by their condition, medication, pain and/or anxiety.

What do you think is the most pressing issue that nursing is facing today? ›

Personal Health

Along with being mentally exhausting, working as a nurse is physically strenuous. Many nurses suffer from back problems and sore feet. Working 12-hour shifts is physically demanding but wearing specially-designed shoes can ease problems and keep nurses on their feet at all times.

What are the biggest problems facing nursing today? ›

Read on to learn about some of the challenges nurses may face today.
  • Inadequate Staffing. Being short-staffed for brief periods of time is common in most professions, and in many of those situations, it is a minor inconvenience. ...
  • Stress. ...
  • Safety on the Job. ...
  • Workplace Violence. ...
  • Improving Self-Care.
5 Jul 2022

What is a poor example of a thesis statement? ›

Bad: Saving the whales should be a top priority. Better: Saving the whales will have a positive effect on Earth's biological diversity, therefore maintaining our planet's health and ecosystems. Bad: Drinking too much alcohol is bad for your health.

What should you not say in a thesis statement? ›

In general, with thesis statements: ● Don't have sentence fragments. Don't have unrelated main points. If your thesis is about the character development in The English Patient​, then you shouldn't have a main point about the life of author. A thesis doesn't announce what you're going to do.

What are the 8 key elements for a strong thesis statement? ›

A strong thesis statement contains the following qualities.
  • Specificity. A thesis statement must concentrate on a specific area of a general topic. ...
  • Precision. ...
  • Ability to be argued. ...
  • Ability to be demonstrated. ...
  • Forcefulness. ...
  • Confidence.

What are the 4 key elements of a thesis statement? ›

Elements of a Thesis Statement
  • Specificity. A thesis statement must concentrate on a specific area of a topic. ...
  • Precision. A thesis statement must be precise enough to allow for a coherent argument and to remain focused on the topic. ...
  • Arguability. ...
  • Demonstrability. ...
  • Confidence.

What makes a poor thesis? ›

A weak thesis statement is vague (identifies a topic but does not specify an argument), offers plot summary or is a statement of fact, is un-provable, or does not give the reader a sense of why the argument is important.

What is the most difficult part of writing a thesis statement? ›

The WHY/HOW part of the thesis statement gives your reasoning behind your argument. This is often the most difficult and important part of developing a thesis statement. Most of the time, this part of the thesis comes second (though there is no reason it can't come first), usually after a word like “because.”

What are the 5 key features of a good thesis statement? ›

Features of A Successful Thesis
  • A thesis must consist of a claim. ...
  • A thesis should not be obviously true or false. ...
  • A thesis should not be overly abstract or general. ...
  • A thesis should be original. ...
  • A thesis should be arguable. ...
  • A thesis should be clear. ...
  • A thesis should be concise. ...
  • A thesis should be obvious to your reader.

Which is the most effective thesis statement? ›

The best thesis statement is a balance of specific details and concise language. Your goal is to articulate an argument in detail without burdening the reader with too much information.

What are the 4 types of thesis statements? ›

Thesis statements can be explanatory, argumentative, or analytical. The type of paper determines the form of the thesis statement.
What are the different types of thesis statements?
  • Explanatory thesis statement. ...
  • Argumentative thesis statement. ...
  • Analytical thesis statement.
13 Dec 2016

Where do the happiest nurses work? ›

But Nurse.org found that nurse educators, home health nurses, nurse managers, OR-perioperative nurses, and pediatric nurses reported the highest levels of job satisfaction.

What is the lowest paying state for nurses? ›

The highest-paying states by median NP salary are California ($151,830), Hawaii ($111,070), Oregon ($99,410), Alaska ($99,910), and Washington ($96,980). The lowest-paying states are South Dakota ($60,540), Alabama ($61,920), Mississippi ($63,130), Iowa ($64,990), and Arkansas ($65,810).

Which states have the happiest nurses? ›

Best States for Nurses Satisfaction and Happiness
  • Minnesota (Quality of life ranking #2, Hospital rating by nurses 86%)
  • Wisconsin (Quality of life ranking #3, Hospital rating by nurses 88%)
  • Oregon (Quality of life ranking #18, Hospital rating by nurses inconclusive)
15 Feb 2022

What type of RNs make the most money? ›

The 10 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2022
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $202,000.
  • Nursing Administrator – $120,000.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $120,000.
  • General Nurse Practitioner – $118,000.
  • Critical Care Nurse – $118,000.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – $114,000.
  • Informatics Nurse – $102,000.
5 Sept 2022

What type of nursing is most in demand? ›

The Highest-Demand Nursing Specialties
  • Neonatal Nurse. Babies who are born prematurely commonly experience a variety of health issues early on, and this is where a neonatal nurse comes in. ...
  • Clinical Nurse. ...
  • Dialysis Nurse. ...
  • Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Nurse Advocate.

Are RNs wealthy? ›

Registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S. earned a median annual wage of $77,600 as of May 2021, the most-recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the highest earning RNs earn more than $120,000 each year.

Do male nurses make more money than female nurses? ›

According to an American Journal of Nursing study of 294,000 nurses, male RNs tend to earn about $10,000 more per year than their female RN counterparts, although that gap narrows to $5,100 when adjusted for factors like age, education, and specialty.

What state is the easiest to take Nclex? ›

If you are looking for the best state for NCLEX or easiest state to pass NCLEX, here are the top 5:
  • #1 Connecticut. ...
  • #2 Montana. ...
  • #3 New York. ...
  • #4 Northern Mariana Islands. ...
  • #5 South Dakota.
20 Jan 2022

Are nurses underpaid? ›

Nursing, a 90% female profession, has been historically underpaid. Caring professions like nursing are often regarded as 'women's work' and therefore are undervalued and underpaid or even unpaid.

How can nurses prevent shortages? ›

6 Innovative Ways Top Nursing Executives Are Surviving the Nursing Shortage
  1. Listening to nurses' concerns.
  2. Prioritizing workplace culture.
  3. Adjusting protocol to meet nurses' needs.
  4. Increasing diversity and representation in nursing.
  5. Addressing the need for more nurse educators.
  6. Supporting nurses leading healthcare innovation.

Why is the nursing shortage important? ›

Clinical Significance

Nursing shortages lead to errors, higher morbidity, and mortality rates. In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, nurses experience burnout, dissatisfaction, and the patients experienced higher mortality and failure-to-rescue rates than facilities with lower patient-to-nurse ratios.

What causes staff shortage? ›

Typically, a labor shortage occurs when there are not enough available workers participating in the labor market to meet the demand for employees. For example, in the United States, there are nearly 11 million job vacancies, but only 6.5 million workers are listed as unemployed in 2022.

How do you encourage employees when short staffed? ›

Praise Your Team

When you are short-staffed at work, your employees can feel immense pressure. Make sure you are acknowledging them for their efforts and for doing a good job in the challenging circumstances. This will help to boost their morale and make them leave work happy and tired, rather than angry and exhausted.

What problems do Staff shortages cause? ›

Understaffing can cause one of the biggest issues for any business. Loss of revenue. That's right, with not enough staff to pick up the phone or interact with new customers, then how can you possibly give them enough care and attention they need to help them buy from you.

How did the nursing shortage start? ›

The Beginning of the Shortage

Most nurse shortages occurring in the twentieth century were demand-driven shortages related to increased utilization of registered nurses.

Which factors affect the nursing shortage quizlet? ›

c. d. Three factors that affect the supply of RNs are nursing education, work environment, and demographics.

Why is there a nursing shortage 2022? ›

Nov. 1, 2022, at 4:16 p.m. Fueled by factors like employee burnout, an aging population and a dearth of training, states across the country are facing a familiar and common problem: a nursing shortage.

What state needs nurses the most? ›

Projected RN Shortages by State

California tops the list with an estimated 44,500 deficit in registered nurses, nearly three times the deficit in the next shortest state. Texas, New Jersey, and South Carolina will lack more than 10,000 RNs; Alaska, Georgia, and South Dakota will each be short several thousand.

What is the average age of registered nurses? ›

In the United States, the average age of a registered nurse was 43.5 years old.
Distribution of registered nurses in the United States in 2019, by age group.
CharacteristicNumber of registered nurses
11 more rows
3 May 2021


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