Professional Schools Lack Capacity To Meet Demand for Health Care Workers
A lack of state funding, trained instructors and space for clinical training prohibit some interested students from pursuing degrees that would lead to careers as nurses, hygienists, technicians and other health care professionals, the Washington Post reports. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates that 30,000 qualified students last year were denied admissions into health care programs because professional schools across the country lacked capacity. Wait times for entry into health care programs can be years in some states, the Post reports. Robert Templin, president of Northern Virginia Community College, said, "The basic choke points are that our colleges and universities don't have the capacity to generate graduates." Templin added, "We generally have a very high demand for people who want to enter these professions, and we have employers that are prepared to employ them. But our higher education institutions just simply aren't equipped to graduate enough trained professionals." According to the Post, it is "not as easy for public institutions that rely on state funds" to expand nursing school capacity because classes tend to cost more than classes in other fields and because state funding has not kept pace with the rising costs. In addition, class sizes are limited by state and national laws to a small number of students -- in many cases no more than eight students per instructor, the Post reports. Finding professionals to teach students, particularly in nursing, also is "expected to become harder because many are slated to retire over the next 10 years," according to the Post (Jenkins, Washington Post, 12/25/06).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.