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Nursing Instructor Shortage

Pete Springer/OPB

Nursing as a profession has a lot of allure. The nursing field has the reputation of being intellectually stimulating, paying well and providing job security. The world will always need nurses. So why is there a nationwide nursing shortage?

Some suggest a correlation between the nursing shortage and the nursing faculty shortage. While the nursing shortage has been widely covered in the media, the faculty shortage is less visible. One reason those faculty positions are harder to fill may be the fact that nursing faculty earn lower salaries than practicing nurses. Nurse educators also typically begin teaching later in life and retire at a younger age. Add to that the pressure for nursing faculty to juggle teaching, researching and presenting, sometimes in addition to their practice, and it’s not hard to see why there’s such a shortage.

Some relief is in the pipeline. Oregon, among other states, forgives some student loans for nursing doctoral programs. A coalition of nursing schools in Oregon has formed to address the nursing shortage by standardizing curriculum so their faculty can be shared.

As a nurse or a patient, how have you experienced the nurse faculty shortage?


  • Chris Tanner: Professor at Oregon Health and Science Univeristy’s School of Nursing
  • Susan King: Executive director of the Oregon Nurses Association
  • Joanne Warner: Dean of University of Portland’s School of Nursing
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