The nursing shortage

The Key Question Behind Two Urgent Issues:

Will enough nurses be there when you need them?

Like a tightening vise, two converging forces put exponential pressure on tomorrow's nursing care. At risk is the likelihood that there will be enough nurses, across all specialties, to care properly for you and your family.  

Snowballing shortages.

Like the entire U.S., Nebraska faces a critical — and growing — shortage of nurses. The state's current shortfall is projected to jump to 20% — nearly 4,000 nurses — by 2020.
The problem is mirrored — and the nursing pipeline is choked — by a nationwide shortage of faculty. Not only is there not enough faculty, many teachers are nearing the end of their careers. Reflecting national numbers, the average age of nursing faculty at UNMC is 54.
Half of Nebraska's nurses with bachelor's degrees are UNMC graduates. But today, across the U.S., about half of all qualified applicants are turned away because of insufficient faculty, facilities and resources.
The nursing shortage, most severe in small towns and rural areas, affects both Nebraska's physical health and its economic health. Lack of care impedes the ability of communities throughout the state to draw and hold residents and the businesses that employ them.

Nebraska's nurses — fast facts.

Source: Nebraska Center for Nursing  

A note about the recession's impact:
Since 2008, many health care providers — like other sectors of the economy — have been hit with budget cutbacks, sometimes resulting in a hold on new hiring. Such short-term signals are misleading. The nursing shortage is not suddenly over; it is merely disguised by a temporary jobs abatement caused by the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. Health care generally — and nursing specifically — remain among the few fields in which job demand will be strong over the next decade.

Nursing Shortage Fact Sheet — American Association of College of Nursing

Tsunami demand.

As it ages, the largest generation in U.S. history puts unprecedented strain on health care.
Huge waves of retiring Baby Boomers will dramatically increase demand for nurses everywhere — at physician offices, community clinics, outpatient centers, hospitals and nursing homes. A gathering tsunami looms for geriatric care.
Completing the perfect storm: Rapid medical advances, rigorous new care standards and increasingly complex medical technologies demand more — and better educated — nurses across all specialties.  

Our Solutions: A Bold Charter of Particulars

What we're doing to end the shortage and elevate the quality of nursing care.

We're working on multiple fronts simultaneously. Efforts are focused in three primary areas:  


Big boost in student capacity via unprecedented construction.

Never before in the College's nine-decade history has there been so much building and renovation over such short time. In a difficult time of budget scarcity, this happy result owes to an abundance of donor vision and generosity and the confidence of state legislators and the governor.
Nationwide, the nursing shortage sprang from insufficient capacity — cramped, outdated facilities and not enough teachers. Our system-wide remedies for all Nebraska:

• New facilities opened in 2010:

• New facilities opened in 2015:

• New facility slated to open in 2018:

This is not about bricks and mortar. It's how we'll be able to:


New programs — plus accelerated and advancement options — to:

We've aggressively expanded programs and pathways for nurse training, development and advancement, including:  

• Program additions that respond to nursing workforce needs:

• Accelerated program options to get more nurses into service faster:

We've expanded student capacity in our:

Plus — through federal educational grants awarded in response to faculty proposals — we've added accelerated pathways to advanced credentials in urgently needed specialties and nurse leader executive roles:


Recalibrate entire curriculum to elevate and integrate:

Our entire BSN-MSN-DNP-PhD curriculum now embeds benchmarks suggested by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The Institute of Medicine, the Carnegie Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — all leading advocates of progressive, evidence-based health care education.