Nursing Careers Experience Growing Demand

North Park University nursing program

CHICAGO (August 14, 2009) – In spite of a nationwide shortage of doctorally trained educators, North Park University’s Christian values help its nursing program continue to attract faculty, says Linda Olson, dean of the School of Nursing.

“We attract people because when they look at our website, they see our value system,” she says. “We get a lot of inquiries because of that.”

According to Olson, every nursing school in the country has experienced struggles in finding enough educators. Hospitals and other industries are increasingly seeking nurses with master’s and doctoral degrees. The shortage has led to higher salaries than most colleges offer.

Comparatively, North Park employs 16 full-time and several part-time nursing faculty members. The school itself maintains a 1:8 faculty to student ratio, which is lower than the 1:10 ratio required by law, Olson says. Instructors in the undergraduate program must have at least a master’s level education, but North Park prefers to hire nurses with doctorates. Moreover, a faculty member must have a doctorate to teach in the graduate program.

As a result of this demand, “Nursing has become quite an attractive major,” says Olson. This has also made getting into nursing programs even more competitive.

The undergraduate nursing program, which students enter in their junior year, is limited to 32 students. So far, 75 incoming students have expressed nursing as their desired course of study. Although a grade point average of 2.75 is needed to enter the program, the school has taken only students with GPAs of more than 3.00 the past two years due to the high number of candidates.

At the undergraduate and graduate level, North Park’s programs are unique in that both reflect the belief that all creation has intrinsic value as God’s creation. They also uphold North Park’s commitment to serving urban areas and offering a multicultural learning environment.

“We’re in a very multicultural setting, and we get students from many other cultures who bring a vast range of experience to the program,” says Olson. “That makes it very interesting.”