Financial incentives for new nursing faculty

Evidence Rating  
Evidence rating: Expert Opinion

Strategies with this rating are recommended by credible, impartial experts but have limited research documenting effects; further research, often with stronger designs, is needed to confirm effects.

Health Factors  
Decision Makers
Date last updated

Financial incentive programs offer scholarships, loan repayment or loan forgiveness in exchange for a teaching commitment, or more competitive salaries for nursing graduate students who choose to pursue careers as nursing faculty. Programs can be initiated by the public sector, philanthropic groups, academic institutions, or the health care industry1. As of 2016, nursing schools report needing over 1,500 additional faculty members to meet student demand2.

What could this strategy improve?

Expected Benefits

Our evidence rating is based on the likelihood of achieving these outcomes:

  • Increased availability of nursing faculty

What does the research say about effectiveness?

Offering financial incentives to nursing graduate students who agree to teach in nursing undergraduate or graduate programs is a suggested strategy to increase the number and availability of nursing faculty1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. By encouraging highly educated nurses to teach, such programs may improve the teaching quality in nursing schools9. Available evidence suggests that the cost of higher education and the salary gap between nurses working in academia and clinical settings are barriers to nurses pursuing careers as nursing faculty10, 11, 12; the salary gap between nurses in academia and other faculty may also be a disincentive5, 13. However, financial incentives alone may not be enough to mitigate the nursing faculty shortage4, 14, 15. Additional evidence is necessary to confirm effects, especially in the long-term13.

Surveys of nursing faculty members suggest that financial incentives and mentoring may support recruitment, hiring, and retention of minority nursing faculty16.

How could this strategy impact health disparities? This strategy is rated no impact on disparities likely.
Implementation Examples

Federal funding for financial initiatives to address the nursing faculty shortage include: Title VIII of the Public Health Services Act, which funds Nursing Workforce Development Programs; Nurse Faculty Loan Programs, funded through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program; and Graduate Assistance in Area of National Need, which awards grants to nursing programs17, 18, 19.

Philanthropic and health care groups also often contribute to scholarships and endowments20; the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is one example21. Individual nursing schools may also establish programs such as Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing’s Grow Our Own program22.

Implementation Resources - Nursing education loan repayment program.

WI DHS-Primary care - Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). Wisconsin primary care office.

AACN-State policies - American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Policy & advocacy: State resources.

HRSA-Faculty LRP - Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Faculty loan repayment program (LRP).

HRSA-NURSE Corps LRP - Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP). Registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty are eligible for loan repayment.

BND-Nurse educators - Best Nursing Degree. Nurse educators: Becoming a nursing instructor.


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1 Allan 2008 - Allan JD, Aldebron J. A systematic assessment of strategies to address the nursing faculty shortage, U.S. Nursing Outlook. 2008;56(6):286-97.

2 AACN-Nursing faculty - American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Nursing faculty shortage. 2017.

3 Gerolamo 2017 - Gerolamo AM, Conroy K, Roemer G, et al. Long-term outcomes of the New Jersey nurse faculty preparation program scholars. Nursing Outlook. 2017;65(5):643-651.

4 McDermid 2012 - McDermid F, Peters K, Jackson D, Daly J. Factors contributing to the shortage of nurse faculty: A review of the literature. Nurse Education Today. 2012;32(5):565-9.

5 Morgan 2014 - Morgan JC, Oermann MH, Pathman DE, et al. An evaluation of state-based support-for-service programs targeting nurse faculty. Nursing Education Perspectives. 2014;35(5):280–286.

6 Fox 2009a - Fox RL, Abrahamson K. A critical examination of the U.S. nursing shortage: Contributing factors, public policy implications. Nursing Forum. 2009;44(4):235-44.

7 Rich 2010 - Rich KL, Nugent KE. A United States perspective on the challenges in nursing education. Nurse Education Today. 2010;30(3):228-32.

8 Siela 2008 - Siela D, Twibell KR, Keller V. The shortage of nurses and nursing faculty: What critical care nurses can do. AACN Advanced Critical Care. 2008;19(1):66-77.

9 Young 2016 - Young LK, Adams JL, Lundeen S, et al. Nurses for Wisconsin: A collaborative initiative to enhance the nurse educator workforce. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2016;32(4):292-299.

10 Westphal 2016 - Westphal J, Marnocha S, Chapin T. A pilot study to explore nurse educator workforce issues. Nursing Education Perspectives. 2016;37(3):171-173.

11 Oermann 2016 - Oermann MH, Lynn MR, Agger CA. Hiring intentions of directors of nursing programs related to DNP- and PhD-prepared faculty and roles of faculty. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2016;32(3):173-179.

12 Nardi 2013 - Nardi DA, Gyurko CC. The global nursing faculty shortage: Status and solutions for change. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 2013;45(3):317–326.

13 Dreifuerst 2016 - Dreifuerst KT, McNelis AM, Weaver MT, et al. Exploring the pursuit of doctoral education by nurses seeking or intending to stay in faculty roles. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2016;32(3):202–212.

14 Duvall 2010 - Duvall JJ, Andrews DR. Using a structured review of the literature to identify key factors associated with the current nursing shortage. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2010;26(5):309-17.

15 Hessler 2006 - Hessler K, Ritchie H. Recruitment and retention of novice faculty. Journal of Nursing Education. 2006;45(5):150-4.

16 Salvucci 2016 - Salvucci C, Lawless CA. Nursing faculty diversity: Barriers and perceptions on recruitment, hiring and retention. Journal of Cultural Diversity. 2016;23(2):65-75.

17 ANA-Title VIII - American Nurses Association (ANA). Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act: Nursing Workforce Development.

18 HRSA-Nurse Corps - Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, includes Nurse Faculty Loan Programs.

19 US ED-Graduate assistance - U.S. Department of Education (U.S. ED). Graduate Assistance in Area of National Need.

20 Feldman 2015 - Feldman HR, Greenberg MJ, Jaffe-Ruiz M, Kaufman SR, Cignarale S. Hitting the nursing faculty shortage head on: Strategies to recruit, retain, and develop nursing faculty. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2015;31(3):170–178.

21 NJNI - New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI). Support faculty development. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

22 Grow Our Own - Pace University. Lienhard School of Nursing. Grow Our Own: Doctoral program in nursing with the intent to become faculty upon degree completion.