Maternal and child health (MCH) nurses are vital to caring for the nation's infants, children, and adolescents. A shortage of pediatric nursing educators has important consequences for the preparation of the next generation of MCH nurses. A Web-based survey of administrators and pediatric nursing faculty from U.S. schools of nursing with baccalaureate and advanced degree programs was conducted to assess perceptions of a pediatric nursing faculty shortage, and implications and solutions to such a shortage. Deans (n = 191) and pediatric faculty (n = 237) from schools of nursing responded to the survey. Institutions are representative of the 660 schools of nursing across the United States. Fifty percent of deans and 70% of pediatric nursing faculty members reported a shortage of pediatric nursing faculty. Large, public institutions (total school student enrollment over 15,000) expressed the most concern. The educational impact of the reported shortage included increased faculty workload, difficulty getting appropriate clinical practice settings, elimination of acute care clinical experiences, and reduction in pediatric content in curricula. Expected retirements of the current workforce (76% were over 45 years of age) without an increase in replacements will deepen the shortage in the coming decade. Pediatric faculty members focused on the need for competitive salaries (particularly compared to clinical salaries) and active mentoring programs as important factors in recruitment and retention of new faculty. Recommendations for stemming the decline in availability of pediatric nursing faculty are provided.
- Nursing shortage