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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 12, 2007

UI College of Nursing acts to stem faculty shortage

The nation's nursing shortage has made headlines for several years. But a lesser-known critical issue is the increasing deficit of nursing faculty and nursing leadership, a situation that only fuels the nursing shortage.

The University of Iowa College of Nursing is set to address this issue by shifting more emphasis toward the preparation of nursing faculty as well as nurses for clinical leadership.

The college is the only institution in the state that prepares nurses at the advanced levels in the multitude of clinical specialties required to teach in beginning and advanced nursing education programs.

"Our partners in nursing education already report a shortage of prepared faculty," said Kathleen Hanson (left), Ph.D., associate professor and interim associate dean of academic affairs. "This shortage contributes to their ability to admit students into their programs. We recognized the need to act swiftly to step up the graduation of future faculty members."

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa recently approved the college's multi-faceted plan, which includes the addition of the doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.) degree.

"The D.N.P. prepares nurses to assume leadership in primary care delivery and faculty positions," Hanson said. "The program builds on the current Master of Science degree for advance practice nurses."

Additionally, the college will transition its existing "second-degree" program into an entry-into-practice Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program. The second-degree program enables those with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field to earn a professional master's and pursue a nursing career without repeating coursework.

By adding a fifth semester, the new program culminates in an academic Master of Science in Nursing degree -- the Entry-into-Practice M.S.N.: Clinical Nurse Leader degree. Graduates will be prepared for registered-nurse licensure and clinical nursing leadership, including faculty positions in Iowa's community college system.

"History tells us there is a pool of prospective students for this new program who are already entrenched in Iowa," said Rita Frantz (right), Ph.D., professor and dean of the UI College of Nursing. "They have family and other ties to the state that will keep them here, which is not necessarily the case with our undergraduate students."

Plans also call for admitting one class of 75 traditional B.S.N. undergraduate students per year instead of two classes.

Rather than limiting students' options, the overall plan opens another avenue to a nursing career, Hanson explained.

"Students who would traditionally have competed for B.S.N. spots can complete a four-year degree in another subject and then apply to the M.S.N.: C.N.L. program. After 18 months, they would graduate prepared to work at the master's level, with higher earning potential and greater opportunity for leadership roles."

The college will also increase enrollment in the R.N.-to-B.S.N. program, which educates registered nurses throughout the state through online courses.

"Growing these programs will, over time, allow the college to prepare greater numbers of nurses for practice with a more efficient use of our faculty resources," Hanson said.

Frantz said, "As a state-supported entity, the college is committed to Iowa's future nursing needs, including providing primary care in the underserved areas of the state. We are also a thriving component of a research extensive university. As such, we have a responsibility and desire to continue with the dissemination of new knowledge, which will improve the health and quality of life for Iowans."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, College of Nursing, 319-335-8960,