Although many nursing schools around the country have successfully increased the racial and ethnic diversity of their student populations, there is still a severe shortage of minority nursing faculty. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, less than 10% of the nation’s nursing educators are people of color. Even worse, many of these minority professors are rapidly nearing retirement age. How can nursing education meet the needs of a more culturally diverse generation of students when there just aren’t enough culturally diverse faculty to go around?
One school that has come up with an innovative solution to the minority faculty shortage is the School of Nursing at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. The college has received a $600,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to recruit and prepare minority nurse educators for online teaching. Training existing minority faculty to teach in distance learning programs will make these educators accessible to more students from all over the country, especially those in remote or rural areas. It will also help reduce the retirement brain drain by enabling minority faculty to extend their tenure in the profession, at least on a part-time basis, after they reach retirement age.
The school plans to recruit 45 minority nurse educators for the program during the next three years. Candidates must have an MSN degree or higher and will complete the college’s 32-week Certificate in Distance Education Program. Upon completion, they will teach one 12-week online nursing course at the college and will then be able to bring their distance education skills back to their own local institutions. The grant will also be used to create a database of minority distance educators, which will be made available to nursing schools throughout the country.
“The potential benefit of educating minority nurse faculty in online pedagogy is vast,” says Susan O’Brien, EdD, RN, dean of the School of Nursing at Thomas Edison State College. “We anticipate that the number of students and nursing schools impacted by this program will increase exponentially as the minority nurse educators recruited and educated through this grant begin to use and share their online skills.” If you’re an eligible nurse educator interested in participating in this program, contact the college at [email protected].
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