Nursing school hires for eleven positions as school grows

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Dean of the School of Nursing Pamela Jeffries said she determines when to add faculty and staff positions based on the school's strategic goals.

The School of Nursing is currently hiring for 11 positions, including seven faculty jobs.

Pamela Jeffries, the dean of the School of Nursing, said in an email that the school is adding faculty as the school expands. But experts said nursing schools across the country are struggling to bring in faculty and that it can take months to fill nursing faculty positions.

Of the 11 spots, seven are faculty positions, including two associate professors and an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, and four are administrative positions, including a senior associate dean for academic affairs.

Jeffries said as the school, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this past fall, continues to grow in research and teaching potential, she determines when to add new positions. The nursing school currently has 61 faculty members, which has grown from 17 in 2012.

Jefferies declined to say how the school is recruiting applicants for the positions. She also declined to give a timeline for filling open positions.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the school in the top 13 percent of graduate nursing schools. Jeffries, who joined the school last April, said she would prioritize growing research and scholarship to propel the school in national rankings.

Karen Fraser Wyche, a research professor, said in an email that hiring new professors will fulfill the school’s goals of providing quality education and increasing research.

“As the newest school at GW, our student body is growing and additional faculty is necessary to provide quality education to our students,” Wyche said. “In addition, our research portfolio and service capacities will be enhanced with additional faculty.”

But experts said hiring for nursing positions in higher education has been a difficult task nationally.

Jane Kirschling, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said nursing programs are growing, but as experienced nursing professors join schools across the country, the hiring pool shrinks.

Kirschling said the largest percentage of nurses are from the Baby Boomer generation, who are beginning to retire. Other nurses decide to practice nursing instead of teach, she said.

“Nurses can make more money in patient care and practicing than teaching, so that is a continued factor,” Kirschling said. “They need to have a deep passion and love for teaching.”

Carolyn Yucha, who has been dean of the school of nursing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas since 2004, said she has hired new faculty members annually for the past 12 years, because professors are often retiring. She said she hires two to three faculty members per year and that it can take months to fill a spot.

Constantly hiring new faculty members is challenging, because new faculty members must learn about the particular school and program, she said.

“I don’t think it is good to always be hiring new faculty,” Yucha said. “I would prefer a very stable faculty because it takes a while to get new faculty oriented, so that they understand how new courses they are teaching fit with the rest of the program.”

Yucha said the typical hiring process for nursing professors includes advertising for the position, evaluating applicants, phone interviews and face-to-face interviews. She said new professors teach fewer classes in their first semesters, forcing returning faculty to take on heavier course loads.

“I think the faculty are used to constant new faculty, but I do think they need to do more mentoring,” Yucha said. “We give new professors a reduced teaching load the first semester they are here, so that means that they are not as helpful to the other faculty.”

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