UVa Dean Tackles Nursing Shortage

By: Autria Godfrey Email
By: Autria Godfrey Email

January 17, 2006

They're responsible for saving your life while providing the tender loving care of mom.
They range from registered nurses to PhD holding professors, and they're disappearing.

In just seven years, 1.2 million more nurses will be needed nationwide. And for Virginians, we're projected to be short by over 20,000 nurses by the year 2020.

That's where Jeanette Lancaster comes in. The Dean of UVa's nursing school, Lancaster has been selected to help lead a task force designed to boost the number of both nurses and nursing faculty.

"The Commonwealth needs new entry level nurses and new graduates of nursing schools. But we also need new masters graduates to be both our faculty, management, and other positions.

Lancaster said the rapidly aging population coupled with the advancements in medical technology have left fewer nurses available, and fewer with adequate education.

"We're trying to get our students to think where are you going to be ten years from now, what do you want to be doing, and have you ever thought about being just like that best professor you had?" Dr. Lancaster continued.

For the next two years, $750,000 will be used annually by UVa to support the increase of faculty and newly licensed nurses, something pivotal to the retirement hot spot Charlottesville has become.

"The states that are becoming preferential retirement locations are going to have the biggest need," Dr. Lancaster said.

Dr. Lancaster plans to take that money and instead of hiring more faculty, put it towards books and tuition for students working on their PhD as an incentive to become part of UVa's faculty.

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