Free tuition offered to nursing faculty - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Free tuition offered to nursing faculty

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - About 40% of nursing teachers are eligible for retirement in the next five years. The need for nursing instructors is greater than ever.

University officials hope a new incentive recently approved by the board of regents will bring even more qualified nursing faculty to the applicant pool.

The Vice president of academic affairs at ABAC says it is difficult not only to find credentialed faculty members but also to keep them around. But a new policy change will allow part time faculty to take graduate courses free, and some people feel this is just what the state needs to attract more nurses to the classroom.

When Charlotte Griffin was caring for her critically ill father, she decided she wanted to become a nurse.

"It came pretty naturally for me and people said you know you should do this," said Griffin.

Now two years into the nursing program at ABAC she is gearing up for graduation, but doesn't plan to stop there. Next up she wants a Masters degree, but worries about the expenses.

"It's not easy trying to balance that load of home and work and school so anything that will take one of those off of you would be a tremendous job," said Griffin.

Now, students like Charlotte have another option when it comes to their nursing careers.

The Board of regents recently approved a policy change which allows part time nursing instructors at the states public colleges to take graduate courses for free.

The board hopes this policy change will attract more nursing faculty with Masters degrees to state colleges.

"At first I said hospital and had the thing about teaching behind my mind and after our conversation today I am thinking yes this really could be a career goal for me," said Griffin.

School officials say it's difficult to find credentialed faculty members, and keep them around. In 2008, ABAC advertised a nursing faculty position nationwide but had no applicants.

"I believe part of it has to do with the salaries I think part of it has to do with the lack of the qualified master degree candidates out there," said Vice President of Academic Affairs Niles Reddick.

According to school officials, nurses holding a masters degree get paid roughly 25% more in the hospitals, but some say there are other benefits for taking the teaching route.

"I like patient care but there is something about sharing that knowledge with other people," said Griffin.

ABAC officials hope this policy change brings many more qualified candidates to the faculty pool.

Currently full time instructors are eligible for tuition assistance as well, but part time instructors will have to make a B or better in all there classes and agree to remain on the faculty for at least two years after they graduate.

  • Click HERE to find out more about the ABAC nursing program

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