Former police officer Ed Hartman has been hitting the books and paper work hard this semester.
As a first year nursing student..he says he has to study a lot of theory.
But here in the clinical portion of the program, he puts those theories to work. But, that's with the help of a clinical nursing instructor.
" When you have someone there interacting with you and you are trying to work with what you have learned in the class and you have someone standing there helping you making little hits, it's a nuturing process for the student they are walking you through the steps so you are getting a physical side of it."
Ed is lucky, here at U-N-R's Orvis School of Nursing, program coordinators say even if it comes down to two weeks before the semester, they've been able to find a clinical nursing instructor.
School director Patsy Ruchala says local hospitals and their nurses have stepped up to the plate." Re-arraigning their schedules so that they can teach two days a week for us."
Ruchala says Orvis has been fortunate, across the country the shortage of nursing instructors...particularly clinical instructors has mean cancelled classes, or worse yet turning away qualified nursing student applicants.
Unlike in the class room setting, she says there must be a clinical instructor to every 8 students. In a class of 48---that an additional six instructors.
"We are a practiced profession. So the better our instructors are prepared clinically the better prepared our students are going to be to graduate in the work force. "
This aspect of the nursing shortage is not a quick fix. Just as the nursing profession is getting older and ready to retire, the same can be said about nursing instructors. Worse yet, Ruchala says, because there's a limited pool of clinical nurses now who can instruct...the problem tends to run up hill---with few coming up the ranks to teach those who are waiting in the ranks.