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Miss. schools deal with nursing faculty shortages

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Nursing has 499 undergraduate and graduate students, but officials say with only 47 faculty members the program can’t bring in any more students.

Officials say USM’s nursing faculty shortage is not unique. Other Mississippi universities and senior and junior colleges are also struggling to hire nursing faculty members.

And Mississippi’s 21 nursing programs must comply with state College Board standards requiring 15-to-1 student to teacher ratios.

Ricki Garrett, executive director of the Mississippi Nursing Association, says the average age of nursing faculty in Mississippi is 58. When educators do leave, it may be difficult to fill their places because faculty salaries barely outpace their clinical counterparts.