Category Archives: Nursing schools
Enrollment in registered nurse (RN) programs has increased for the 13th consecutive year, according to preliminary data from the fall 2013 nursing school enrollment survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). But with a 2.6 percent enrollment increase from 2012 to 2013, entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs saw their lowest growth rate in five years.
Though interest in nursing careers remains strong, AACN said in a news release, many qualified individuals seeking to enter the profession can’t be accommodated in nursing programs. The preliminary data show that 53,667 qualified applications were turned away from 610 entry-level baccalaureate programs in 2013, and AACN expects that number to increase when final data are released in March.
The primary barriers to accepting all qualified nursing school applicants continue to be a shortage of faculty, clinical placement sites, and funding, AACN reports.
The 2013 survey shows stronger growth rates for RN-to-BSN programs, at 12.4 percent, as well as master’s programs (4.4 percent) and doctor of nursing practice programs (21.6 percent).
Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a professor of behavioral nursing and health systems at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she focuses on interprofessional education in the health professions. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows program (2008-2011). This post is part of the “Health Care in 2014” series, in which health leaders, as well as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars, grantees, and alumni, share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system and their priorities for action this year.
Over the last several years, health professional students at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle have had numerous opportunities to participate in interprofessional education (IPE) events using a variety of pedagogical approaches, experiences, and technologies such as unfolding web-based cases, team-building exercises, simulated scenarios, mock codes, joint quality improvement placements, shadowing health professionals, and service learning in the community.
These activities are highly rated, and students typically provide positive testimonials about the importance of working together early in their training. Although the feedback provided by the students is overwhelmingly positive, I was concerned that the students were not fully understanding the rationale for these numerous IPE activities, which are logistically challenging to develop, implement, and evaluate.
I was recently invited to give a lecture to describe local and national IPE initiatives to pre-licensure students in a UW leadership class. These students had participated in two IPE events during one academic quarter. While standing outside of the classroom waiting for the first guest speaker to finish his PowerPoint lecture, I decided to abandon the lecture and instead to facilitate a discussion on the rationale for the IPE events.
Graduates of entry-level baccalaureate and master’s nursing programs are much more likely to have job offers by graduation or soon after, compared with graduates from other fields, according to new data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). A national survey of deans and directors from U.S. nursing schools found that 59 percent of new bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) graduates had job offers at the time of graduation.
That’s substantially higher than the national average across all professions (29.3 percent). At four to six months after graduation, the survey found that 89 percent of new BSN graduates had secured employment in the field.
“Despite concerns about new college graduates finding employment in today’s tight job market, graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs are finding positions at a significantly higher rate than the national average,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling. “As more practice settings move to require higher levels of education for their registered nurses, we expect the demand for BSN-prepared nurses to remain strong as nurse employers seek to raise quality standards and meet consumer expectations for safe patient care.”
Mirroring national trends, the California State University (CSU) system is turning away qualified nursing school applicants due to faculty shortages, reports the Los Angeles Daily News, and CSU officials fear that the situation will worsen the nurse shortage in a state that already has one of the country’s lowest numbers of nurses per capita.
This fall, CSU Long Beach had a nursing program acceptance rate of 18 percent, having received 450 applications for 82 slots. CSU Northridge had a “very highly qualified” pool of 300 applicants but could only accept 60. CSU Chico had to turn down 86 percent of its fully qualified applicants, while CSU San Marcos turned away nearly 89 percent.
“Let me put it this way, we have over 1,200 pre-nursing students,” Dwight Sweeney, interim chairman of nursing at CSU San Bernardino, told the Daily News. “I can only take about 108 a year. In the fall, we had over 600 applicants for 44 positions. Realistically, we are turning away people with 3.6 and 3.7 GPAs. And I think that story is playing out on CSU campuses everywhere.”
At a news conference yesterday in Albuquerque, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced the establishment of a statewide common nursing curriculum, designed to increase the number of nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in the state. She was joined at the event by leaders from the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), which led the effort to develop the curriculum and build partnerships between community colleges and universities.
NMNEC’s work is supported by the New Mexico Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative, a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Implementation of this curriculum in New Mexico will allow nursing students to more easily transfer credits from community colleges within the state, so they can pursue BSNs without having to physically attend large universities like the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque or New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. For the first time, state community colleges will be able to partner with one of these universities to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the work of RWJF’s nursing programs, and the latest news, research, and trends relating to academic progression, leadership, and other critically important nursing issues. These are some of the stories in the September issue:
Wanted: Young Nurse Faculty
Nearly three-quarters of full-time nurse faculty are 50 and older, and the nurse faculty workforce is on the brink of a mass retirement. Most young nurses have chosen to work in other settings, and the insufficient number of young nurse faculty threatens to exacerbate the looming nurse shortage. Read about what is stopping young nurses from entering academia, and how RWJF programs are encouraging faculty careers.
RWJF Fellow Tapped to Head New Diversity Initiative in California
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Mary Lou de Leon Siantz was tapped in June to head up the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS) at the University of California, Davis, which aims to increase the participation of women, and Latinas in particular, in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The appointment of a Latina nurse to this high-profile position calls attention to the often overlooked fact that science undergirds the nursing profession, and to the valuable role that women, and Latinas, play in scientific endeavors.
In the latest installment in its “Quest for Care” series that looks at the country’s shortage of health care providers, NBC News reported over the weekend on the nursing workforce. As the nation struggles to train enough nurses to care for an aging population and the influx of patients who will be newly insured because of health care reform, one thing is holding them back: a shortage of nurse faculty.
“Just as the country needs nurses the most, a shortage of professors is curbing the capacity of nursing schools to crank out graduates with advanced degrees,” the story says, citing data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that nursing schools are turning away tens of thousands of qualified applicants because they lack the faculty to teach them.
The College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina is turning away a few hundred students each year for that very reason, its dean, Jeanette Andrews, told NBC. Andrews, PhD, RN, is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows program.
But nurse faculty are hard to find: they need advanced degrees, and leaving the field for the classroom often requires nurses to take a pay cut. Hospitals and other care settings are competing for the same skilled nurses that colleges need, experts say.
“I have five faculty positions open right now,” Andrews added. “It is really hard to find qualified, doctorally prepared faculty who are willing to relocate or to move out of a higher-paying salary in the field.”
Ariel Eby is a scholar in the new ADN-to-BSN bridge program at California State University, Los Angeles, which is funded by the California Action Coalition through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative. The California Action Coalition is a part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a collaborative effort backed by RWJF and AARP to transform nursing and improve health and health care.
I never thought it was possible to be so exhausted and so grateful at the same time. These last few years have proven to be the most challenging of my life, but the most rewarding at the same time.
"I want to spend the rest of my life eating, drinking, living, learning, and teaching nursing."
When I say I'm exhausted, I'm not exaggerating. When I first heard about the debut of the ADN-to-BSN bridge program at California State University-Los Angeles, I didn’t think there was any way I could make it work. I have three jobs. I’m already in a program getting my associate degree in nursing (ADN)—and am getting married later this summer, the day after the first quarter ends. “There's no way!” I thought.
But where there's a will there’s a way, I'd soon find out.
Robyn Williams is a scholar in the new ADN-to-BSN bridge program at California State University, Los Angeles, which is funded by the California Action Coalition through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative. The California Action Coalition is a part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a collaborative effort backed by RWJF and AARP to transform nursing and improve health and health care.
When I first heard about the accelerated ADN-to-BSN program at California State University, Los Angeles, my ears perked up and I was instantly very interested. Having the chance to pursue my bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) while finishing my associate degree in nursing (ADN) at Long Beach City College was ideal.
I had already planned to start working toward obtaining my bachelor’s soon after I graduated and had even looked into some programs. So, the option to join this accelerated program at Cal State LA, as we call it out here, was a no-brainer.
In a hopeful sign, an annual survey from the National League for Nursing (NLN) finds that fewer qualified applicants were turned away from schools of nursing in the 2011-2012 school year than in recent years. The percentage of nursing programs that turned away qualified applicants dropped “substantially” for every program type except baccalaureate degree programs in the survey, and the percentage of students turned away also declined. The percentage of programs that could not fill available seats fell in 2012 as well.
In a news release, NLN President Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, called the trend “encouraging.” She noted that, “just two years ago the percentage of nursing programs that turned away qualified applicants was peaking across all types of nursing education programs, including almost two thirds of baccalaureate programs.”
The NLN Annual Survey of Schools of Nursing finds that the nurse faculty shortage continues to be the main obstacle to expansion for graduate programs, although that shortage is easing some as well. According to the new survey, 73 percent of responding schools reported hiring new nurse faculty in the past 12 months. More than two-thirds of those new hires have a master’s degree; 16 percent have PhDs; and 7 percent have DNPs.
Noting that doctoral nursing programs rejected 37 percent of qualified applicants in 2012, NLN CEO Beverly Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in the news release: “With the importance of academic progression and a continuing need for doctorally prepared nurse faculty, we are pleased to note that this rejection rate has now dropped from 43 to 37 percent, though clearly we still have a long way to go.”
An increasing number of associate degree nurse and practical nurse programs cite a shortage of clinical sites as an obstacle to expansion, the survey reports.