Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Challenges and Issues Facing the Future of Nursing Education: Implications for Ethnic Minority Faculty and Students

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Challenges and Issues Facing the Future of Nursing Education: Implications for Ethnic Minority Faculty and Students

Article excerpt

Abstract: Current trends in higher education in the United States demand that nursing take stock of how it is prepared or being prepared to face challenges and issues impacting on its future. The intense effort made to attract students to pursue advanced training in science and engineering in the United States pales in comparison to the numbers of science and engineering majors produced yearly in international schools. As a result, more and more jobs are being outsourced to international markets. Could international outsourcing become a method of nursing education? Authors submit that to remain competitive, the nursing profession must attract a younger cohort of technologically savvy students and faculty reflective of the growing diverse population in the United States. Additionally, nursing programs in research universities face even more daunting challenges as it relates to mandates for funded research programs of educational units. This article offers suggestions and recommendations for nursing programs in higher education institutions on ways to attract and retain ethnic minorities and of how to harness the power of research to address burgeoning societal health challenges.

Key Words: Ethnic Minorities, American Education, Nursing Education, health disparities, Research in Nursing

PRESENT STATE OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

For nearly 60 years, American universities have been the envy of the world, affording educational and research opportunities unparalleled at any but a few other institutions. Our universities, as described by Rosenstone (2004), served as magnets for the world's most talented students and researchers. How well a nation is prepared to compete in a flobal knowledge economy is largely determined y the proportion of the population that goes on to a four-year college or university. In 2001, the 4-year College Continuation Rates revealed that the United States ranked 14th behind other nations - including the Scandinavian countries, New Zealand, Hungary, Poland, Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy (Rosenstone, 2004).

All of these countries have higher college continuation rates than America. An even more disturbing trend, according to the Council of Graduate Study is the precipitous 28% drop in applications from foreign students and a 6 percent decline in foreign enrollments (Rosenstone, 2004; http: /www.cgsnet.org). These declines were particularly steep in the number of applications to science and engineering programs. This drop represented the first drop in enrollment in students from abroad in more than 30 years. Rosenstone reminds us that because of American students' declining interest in pursuing advanced training in the sciences and engineering, in the end, with all probability, there will be too few U.S. scientists and engineers to sustain research and teaching in these key disciplines.

Even more disturbing challenges that impact the future of higher education in general and research extensive /intensive universities specifically are presented in the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of the National Academy Report (2002): Rising Above the Gathering Storm. According to the report, at a time when an estimated 85% of measured growth in the U.S. income per capital is due to technological change, a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce has to compete with tower-wage workers around the globe, and leading-edge scientific and engineering work that is being accomplished in many parts of the world. As a result of globalization, coupled with modern communication and other advances, "workers in virtually every sector must now face competitors who live just a mouse click away in countries whose economies are growing." Even in healthcare, we use technology for health practitioners thousands of miles away to interpret radiology reports and other tests. Labeled as 'Some Worrisome Indicators' (see Table 1.), the report paints a foreboding picture for the future unless definitive steps are taken to reverse these challenges. …

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