RALEIGH (May 18, 2023) – While the NC Senate’s proposed budget for 2023-25 has plenty of shortcomings, there’s at least one bright spot for nursing instructors in North Carolina.
The Senate proposal includes pay increases of 5% over the next two years for most community college and state university employees, plus an additional 10% increase for starting nursing instructors and as much as 15% for other nursing instructors.1
As we learned in our 2021 series “Help Wanted: Nurses,” North Carolina’s nursing shortage existed well before the coronavirus pandemic. But with retirements and burnout among nurses, the pandemic only made it worse.
NC Nursecast, developed by the Cecil G. Sheps Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, predicted a shortage of 12,500 registered nurses and 5,000 licensed practical nurses across the state by 2033.2
The shortage, we learned, is largely due to a shortage of instructors – because nurses can make more being a nurse than they can teaching people how to nurse:
A STUDY LAST YEAR by leaders in nursing education with the UNC and NC Community College Systems found that only through increased funding can the state produce 50% more nursing graduates by 2028 or 2029.3
The Senate’s proposal would allocate an additional $7 million a year to community-college nursing instructors and $8.5 million a year to public university instructors.
IN CONTRAST, THE NC HOUSE version of the budget takes a more general – but much bigger-dollar – approach to cultivating graduates in health care. It would put:
- An additional $40 million over the next two years into expansion of courses in health-care fields at NC community colleges. It remains to be seen how many of those funds would go toward nursing instruction.
- Another $20 million over two years specifically into support for nursing programs at community colleges. And $2 million over two years specifically into Surry Community College to hire eight nursing instructors under an agreement with Northern Regional Hospital.
- $40 million over two years into expansion of courses in health-care fields across the UNC System. Again, it remains to be seen how many of those funds would go to nursing.
- $15 million over two years into expansion of primary-care programs, including nursing, at East Carolina University.
- $15 million over two years into health-care programs at UNC Pembroke to meet regional workforce demands. Robeson County consistently ranks as the least-healthy county in the state.
In addition, the House and Senate budgets both make additional allocations beyond staff raises for community college and university officials to help recruit and retain faculty and staff in targeted, hard-to-fill positions.6
The differences will be worked out in a joint House-Senate conference committee. But whichever version wins out, nursing programs in North Carolina should be able to count on at least some improvement in faculty pay.
1 https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewNewsFile/74/HB259PCS_Committee%20Report_2023_05_16, pp. 33/B6, 63/B36.
3 https://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/doc.php?id=67169&code=bogus, pp. 15-28; https://www.higheredworks.org/2023/01/nursing-instructor-shortage-pay-them/.
4 https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewNewsFile/74/HB259PCS_Committee%20Report_2023_05_16, pp. 33/B6, 63/B36.
5 https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewNewsFile/71/HB259_CommRpt_2ndEdit_2023_04_03, p. 37/B10.
6 https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewNewsFile/71/HB259_CommRpt_2ndEdit_2023_04_03, pp. 33/B6, 62/B35; https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewNewsFile/74/HB259PCS_Committee%20Report_2023_05_16, pp. 33/B6, 63/B36.
Creative Designs Badge Reel says
Great to see recognition finally coming to nursing instructors! They play a vital role in shaping the future of healthcare by training and inspiring the next generation of nurses. By highlighting their contributions, we honor their commitment to quality education and ultimately improve the overall healthcare system. Overall great post!