FIGURE 4-6 Distribution of the registered nurse population by highest nursing or nursing-related educational preparation, 19802008

FIGURE 4-6 Distribution of the registered nurse population by highest nursing or nursing-related educational preparation, 1980–2008

NOTES: The totals in each bar may not equal the estimated numbers for RNs in each survey year because of incomplete information provided by respondents and the effect of rounding. Only those who provided information on initial RN educational preparation to surveyors were included in the calculations used for this figure.

SOURCE: HRSA, 2010b.

initial degree, Aiken’s analysis suggests that currently “having enough faculty (and other master’s prepared nurses) to enable nursing schools to expand enrollment is a mathematical improbability” (Aiken et al., 2009). A separate analysis of North Carolina nurses led to a similar conclusion (Bevill et al., 2007). Table 4-2 shows the length of time it takes those nurses who do move on to higher levels of education to progress from completing initial nursing education to completing the highest nursing degree achieved.


Salary disparities Another factor that contributes to the current nursing faculty shortage is salary disparities between nurses working in education and those working in clinical service (Gilliss, 2010). As shown in Table 4-3, the average annual earnings of nurses who work full time as faculty (most with either a master’s or doctoral degree) total $63,949. By contrast, nurse practitioners (NPs) (with



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