A coalition of Maine nursing organizations released a report recently and the prediction was dire, according to Maine Public reporter Jennifer Rooks, in the lead-in to "Maine Calling," the program she hosts. The report stated that by the year 2025, there will be a shortage of more than 3,000 nurses in the state.
USM's own Su Sepples, Ph.D., RN, associate professor in the School of Nursing, and founding member of the Maine Partners in Nursing and Practice was one of the featured panelists on the program.
Sepples stated that since nurses are the major healthcare providers in the community and the hospitals, the quality of healthcare would be severely impacted by a shortage as outlined in the report, which she adds, is a realistic estimate, not a worst-case scenario.
Rooks spoke of USM's program as being highly desirable but also highly competitive for students applying to the program.
Sepples said nursing requires an 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio in a clinical setting and strong mentoring, so there are limited slots, in order to be sure students are properly served by the program. But she added that at USM, she would encourage traditional students with good grades and who meet the qualifications to apply, as most qualified students applying right after graduating high school are accepted.
The most difficult scenario, she said, is the shortage of faculty, with 33% of current nursing faculty in the state being more than 60 years old. Sepples said that people aren't going into Nursing education as the need demands, but work is being done to try to bring more experienced clinical nurses into the educational system.
Hear the full interview on Maine Calling with more from Su Sepples and the other panelists, as well as nursing students and others calling in, as they discuss this vital topic.
And for more information on USM School of Nursing's various programs, degrees and certifications, view our video here.