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$22 Million Initiative Aims to Reverse New Jersey's Nurse Faculty Shortage, Avert Health Care Crisis
Date:5/28/2009

e than half of the state's RNs (54.4 percent) are between the ages of 46 and 60. This means that nearly a third of the state's nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next decade.

"Unfortunately, we are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to our nation's supply of nurses," added Joan Verplanck, president, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "Already, the annual cost to U.S. businesses of poor health care quality per covered employee is $1,900. Each year, inadequate care costs businesses as many as 45 million avoidable sick days - the equivalent of 180,000 full time employees calling in sick every day for a full year. This costs the nation's employers more than $7 billion a year in lost productivity. That staggering price tag will increase as nurses become scarcer and the quality of care deteriorates as a result. That will translate into lower productivity and higher absenteeism in the workplace."

"We are turning away qualified nursing applicants - young people who want to do this work, have the intelligence and talent for this work, and can make a difference through nursing," said David Anthony Forrester, Ph.D., R.N., ANEF, associate dean and professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. "We're turning them away because we have limited faculty to teach them. That's a terrible shame, especially given the expected growth in demand for health care."

The New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing also reports that there are 567 full-time nurse faculty working in the state. Their average age is 55, and 74 of them are expected to retire within five years. More than half the state's nursing schools already limit student capacity due to limited faculty lines. For doctorally prepared faculty in particular, it can be challenging for schools to find qualified faculty applicants.

"Unless we take action, it will get worse," said Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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