Recommendations

RecommendationsThe basic premise of the SWIFT program is that the nation-wide nurse educator shortage can only be resolved through coordinated planning and action among three key stakeholders: nursing programs, health care employers, and state and regional workforce initiatives.

Establishing partnerships among these stakeholders is complex and challenging, but it is possible to develop and implement a successful program among the parties specifically focused on resolving the nurse educator shortage.

General recommendations for the successful establishment of such a program on a regional or statewide basis are listed below:

  • Form a program sponsor group including key representatives from all the stakeholder groups to develop a detailed plan to recruit and educate nurses (or appropriate non-nurse) candidates to earn at least a master’s degree in nursing. Make sure there is an evaluation component of this plan.
  • Secure funding for a minimum staff (1-4 people) to actually implement the program with regular oversight from the sponsoring group.
  • The program should be a minimum of 3 years in length.
  • The marketing plan for this program should be carefully developed with input from marketing professionals and that the implementation strategies of the marketing plan rely heavily on personal, face-to-face encounters with the partners who are involved in the implementation.

Focused recommendations for working with the nursing programs, health care employers, and workforce development initiatives are listed below:

Nursing Programs

  • Get buy-in from as many nursing programs within the program region as possible. Work with associate degree programs to identify recent graduates and/or current students who should be targeted to complete their baccalaureate degrees.
  • With the master’s programs, concentrate on how to streamline admissions and student advising processes and review program curricula to ensure there are 6-9 credits required with an education focus.
  • Work with the nursing programs that will employ the new nurse educators to review how they can best use graduate prepared nurses who may also be employed in practice settings. Bring together health care employers and nursing programs to plan how joint employment of nurse educators can best be implemented.

Employers

  • Be creative in recruiting employers to sponsor their nurses and other employees to become nurse educators:
    • Focus on employers with stable financial resources.
    • Engage relevant health care associations (such as long-term care and hospital associations) in the recruitment process.
    • Bring together smaller employers in a given area to explore joint sponsorship of one or two nurses to become educators.
  • Actively assist sponsoring employers with the candidate recruitment process.
    • Develop and distribute marketing materials.
    • Work with the employers and area master’s programs to coordinate their recruitment plans and timetables. Encourage them to hold joint information meetings for prospective nurse educator candidates.

Workforce Development Initiatives

  • Ensure the initial plan to address the nurse educator shortage includes a detailed description of how the workforce development initiatives will participate in the program. Areas where these groups can be particularly helpful include:
    • Bringing together local health care employers and nursing programs to establish buy-in with the goals and strategies of the nurse educator recruitment program and assisting with the recruitment of employer sponsors.
    • Monitoring and disseminating nursing workforce demand/supply data to assist area nursing programs and employers with their strategic planning.
    • Identifying potential sources of support for nurse educator candidates who need additional resources such as child or elder care or money to buy books or a computer in order to attend graduate school while working.