“Silver Tsunami”…..Retiring Nurse Leaders in Higher Education”

» Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Breaking News | Comments Off on “Silver Tsunami”…..Retiring Nurse Leaders in Higher Education”



The “Silver Tsunami” Within Nursing Education


The “Silver Tsunami” is coming and it’s coming fast within the ranks of nursing higher education.   Each year, pills more and more faculty and administrators are reaching and surpassing their “planned” dates for retirement.  Make no mistake–these colleagues are the glue holding together the foundation of schools and colleges of nursing across the country.  When they finally do leave, there will be a shake-up the likes of which has not been seen within nursing education.

Much of the he crisis exists due to junior faculty being unprepared, or unwilling, to step into the shoes of administration, preferring to remain as an individual contributor for the time being.  So how do we pick up the slack and find “mid-career” level faculty who are prepared and willing to inherit leadership roles?

Emerson Professionals is a national search firm focused on providing nursing and healthcare leaders within higher education.  Each day higher education nursing recruiters are flooded with requests for “mid-career” level faculty.  Additional requirements include solid research funding histories, publications, and presentations ….preferably tenured with a PhD!  Everyone is after the same “wish list” of credentials.  Most of the individuals with these credentials are NOT entertaining career moves due to:

Aging parents, spouse’s job, children at home, or THEY themselves are nearing retirement.

Higher education institutions and accrediting bodies need to stop talking about this insidious issue and begin making modifications to their credentialing requirements.  While there are currently a few excellent leadership programs available for PhD and DNP professors such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellowships, there are many EdD/MSN credentialed professors with a desire to develop their administrative expertise and prove themselves in a Deanship.  In many universities across the country, they are not offered that opportunity, due to the stigma attached to these credentials vs the perceived “more prestigious” credential of a PhD.  The perception is that they are not qualified to handle the responsibilities of the position and be an effective leader to PhD-prepared faculty.   In an RO1 University, this makes sense. However, elsewhere, if a DNP or an EdD/MSN wants the job and can do the job– and the PhD does not want the job–why should this be an issue? Politics and tradition can no longer stand in the way of progress.  The Silver Tsunami is coming!