Nursing Education Still Hindered by Capacity Issues

Jun 20, 2012, 5:00 PM

Schools of nursing across the country continued to turn qualified students away in the 2010-2011 school year because of a lack of faculty and clinical sites, a survey from the National League of Nursing (NLN) confirms. The annual survey of nursing schools finds that the percentage of qualified students who were turned away rose between 2009 and 2011 for every post-licensure program type.

“Most strikingly, the percentage of MSN programs turning away qualified applicants jumped by 15 percent over the past two years from just one in three programs to almost half in 2011,” NLN said in a news release about the findings. “These trends threaten to perpetuate a vicious cycle, constraining the number of graduates prepared to take on faculty roles in nursing schools.”

The survey also finds that the percentage of racial-ethnic minority students enrolled in pre-licensure RN programs continued a steady decline from its high in 2009 (from 29 percent to 24 percent). Hispanics remain “dramatically underrepresented” in nursing, making up a mere 6 percent of associate degree and undergraduate nursing students.

The survey had good news on other fronts, however. The percentage of men in basic RN programs increased slightly to 15 percent, and the average age of nursing students—including those in doctoral programs—continues to drop.

Read the news release.

Read the NLN survey’s executive summary.


This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.