African American Nursing Faculty: Where Are They?

By Godfrey, Carolyn J. | ABNF Journal, January/February 2005 | Go to article overview

African American Nursing Faculty: Where Are They?


Godfrey, Carolyn J., ABNF Journal


Abstract: African American nursing faculty members are scarce in today's society. The National League for Nursing (NLN) developed a report of the faculty census survey of Registered Nurses (RN) and graduate programs in 2002, The report indicates that only 6.6% nursing faculty are African American compared to 91.0% Caucasian nursing faculty (NLN, 2003). Previous published literature explores reasons African Americans are not choosing academic careers, reasons for termination of employment, regions in the U.S. where African American faculty are employed, and strategies employed to recruit additional African American nursing faculty.

Key Words: African American Nursing Faculty, Black Nursing Faculty, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Faculty Shortage.

Recent data has shown that African Americans represent only 4% of professors and associate professors in higher education compared to their White counterparts, who comprise 87% of tenured faculty members (Allen, 2000). Data from the National League for Nursing (NLN) report of RN and graduate programs in the year 2002 revealed that out of all nursing programs responding, only 6.6% of nursing faculty were African American compared to 91.0% Caucasian nursing faculty (NLN, 2003). Of significance, members of racial and ethnic minorities will make up almost 40% of the U.S. population by 2020 (O'Connor, 2003).

In 1873, the first three schools of nursing opened in the U.S. They were Bellevue Hospital in New York City, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. Almost without exception, these schools declined to admit Black students. However, in 1879, Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first Black graduate of an American school of nursing. Over a century later, African American nurses and faculty are still underrepresented (The sudden decline, 2002)

"PURPOSE

This article reviews the literature in an attempt to explore reasons African American nurses are not choosing nursing education as a specialty, lists geographical locations where African American nursing faculty members are employed, and investigates recruitment efforts that address the nursing shortage.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

African American nurses make up about 9% of all nurses in the U.S. (Taking the pulse, 2002). According to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one million vacant positions will exist for registered nurses by 2010 (AACN, 2003a). There is an under-representation of minority groups in nursing faculty and student nurse populations (Valiga, 2002). Related to this finding, the most persistent, statistically significant predictor of enrollment and graduation of African American graduate students is the presence of African American faculty members (Blackwell, 1981). Minority faculty have demonstrated their superior ability to provide direct, beneficial support for minority students, serving as a symbol of encouragement about their future, and providing a comfortable environment (Daufin, 2001).

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The NLN Faculty Census 2002 Survey provides information about the faculty component of the nursing workforce. NLN sent their survey to 1,419 schools that offer graduate or RN programs; 1,098 schools responded to the survey. In 1993, there were slightly more than 3,000 students enrolled in master's programs preparing for an educator role. Enrollments dropped to 2,989 (8.8%) in 1994 and 2,954 (8.3%) in 1995. By 1999, the number of students enrolled in masters programs education "tracks" had decreased to 1,299. A slight increase in the number of education "tracks" occurred in 2001, but not enough to alleviate the problem of low enrollment in nursing programs that prepare graduates for the educator role (Valiga, 2002).

Factors Contributing to the Shortage of Nursing Faculty

Faculty age and retirement, coupled with an inadequate pool of younger faculty for replacement are the primary influences on future faculty availabilities. …

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