A $333,000 gift from Moses Cone Health System will endow a nursing professorship at UNCG.

And UNCG plans to give Cone a gift in return – more nurses.

The endowment for the Moses Cone Distinguished Professorship in Nursing will be received over three years, in $111,000 installments. The university will apply to the state’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund for matching funds to bring the total endowment to $500,000.

“What’s motivating Cone is the shortage of nurses,” said Dr. Virginia Karb, associate dean of the nursing school. “They would like us to graduate more nurses and we would like to do that, too, but our facilities and staff are at capacity. This endowment will help us recruit a senior professor for the nursing school, which is tough because there’s also a severe shortage of nursing faculty. It’s a real challenge to recruit and keep faculty.”

The Cone Distinguished Professor will work with undergraduate nursing students in UNCG’s pre-licensure program.

A 2006 survey found at least 637 open faculty positions nationally at schools offering BSN and graduate nursing degrees, a vacancy rate estimated at nearly eight percent. In addition, the steadily increasing average age of the nation’s nursing faculty – 54 for faculty with doctoral degrees and 49 for faculty with master’s degrees, according to a 2004 study – means a large number of nursing professors are nearing retirement, making the problem worse.

The new professorship will add to a relationship of more than 50 years. In the 1950s, the Moses Cone Hospital Board of Trustees and Woman’s College agreed that Moses H. Cone’s $20,000 bequest for nursing education should be put toward the creation of an associate degree program in nursing at the college. That program’s success led to the creation in 1966 of a baccalaureate nursing degree program at the school, which by then had become the coeducational UNCG.

With the creation of the School of Nursing, the hospital and the university deepened their relationship. In 1967, Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital became one of the new school’s first clinical partners. In 1983, the school launched its first joint research endeavor with the hospital. The partnership continues with the Moses Cone Scholars program, a collaborative program in which the health system provides clinical faculty, clinical experience and financial support to cohorts of UNCG nursing students.

“We are pleased to be able to support UNCG in its efforts to recruit highly qualified faculty for the undergraduate program in nursing,” said Joan Wessman, Cone’s chief nursing officer.

“The collaboration between Moses Cone Health System and the UNCG School of Nursing is important to help us meet our nursing manpower needs. The community is fortunate to have this strong partnership.”

Cone is a multi-hospital system serving Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham and Alamance counties and the city of Kernersville. More than 7,400 employees work throughout The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, Wesley Long Community Hospital, The Women’s Hospital of Greensboro, Annie Penn Hospital, The Behavioral Health Center, the Health Services Division and a broad range of outpatient services.