Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden works to address root causes of nursing shortages.

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden plays an integral role in addressing local and national nursing shortages, poor working conditions, insufficient staffing, and limited resources for nurses. Nursing shortages that have plagued the United States throughout the COVID-19 pandemic rose to a fever pitch yesterday, as about 15,000 Minnesota nurses employed in 16 medical facilities began a three-day work stoppage, the largest private-sector nursing strike in U.S. history. Through its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and Post-Master’s Nurse Educator Certificate Program, the school is leveraging its expertise to build a larger, safer, and more capable workforce of nurses. 

A lack of nurse educators also contributes to national shortages, preventing those who are seeking to become nurses from completing required coursework and licensure. Nearly 92,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs in 2021 due to insufficient instructional capacity. Rutgers–Camden recently introduced the Post-Master’s Nurse Educator Certificate Program, which provides nurses who hold advanced degrees the knowledge and skills needed to educate nursing students in the classroom, in clinical settings, and online.

“This certificate program provides clinical experts with the requisite skills and knowledge to transition into the role of nurse educator,” said Cynthia Ayres, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate programs and advanced nursing practice. “Our goal is ultimately to increase the number of bedside nurses available to work.”

Nurses participating in the Minnesota strike have cited burnout, poor safety protocols, and low wages as additional factors that contributed to their decision. Rutgers University–Camden’s efforts to develop and equip the next generation of nurses aim to address these systemic issues, touching on a variety of areas for improvement within national healthcare systems. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares nurses to become leaders in patient care, with particular attention to serving vulnerable populations and pursuing policy reforms.

“The demands of the nation’s complex health care environment require a higher level of preparation for nursing leaders,” Ayres said. “They must have the ability to design and evaluate care with the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes.”

Regardless of the outcome of the Minnesota nursing strike, challenges will persist for nurses, medical facilities, and patients nationwide as shortages continue to grip the profession. The concerns raised by Minnesota nurses fall squarely in line with the aims of the School of Nursing–Camden’s academic programs, which push for the more plentiful, empowered, and respected nursing workforce that is essential to the proper administration of medical care.