Measuring Success

Nursing graduation rates show promising trends for some underrepresented minorities, while more work needs to be done attracting and retaining others.


The Issue:

Nurses make up the largest contingent of health care workers in the United States. While one-third of the population is minority, one-quarter of nurses are minorities. To help close that gap and prepare for an even larger minority populace, nursing institutions have created diversity pipeline programs to increase underrepresented minority enrollment, retention, and degree/certificate completion. A diverse workforce has been shown to help improve minority health care access, quality, and patient satisfaction.

Key Findings

  • Some 20 percent of nursing schools sampled had an established diversity pipeline program; most (64%) were situated in public institutions.

  • Academic support and mentoring were the dominant program features (88% and 85%, respectively).

  • Between 2008 and 2012, underrepresented minority nursing school graduation rates increased at pipeline schools for Hispanics/Latinos (from 7.9% to 10.4%) but decreased for Blacks (6.8% to 5.0%) and Native American/Pacific Islander students (2.1% to 0.3%).

  • At non-pipeline schools, Black enrollment decreased (7.1% to 6.3%).


“The noted gaps in pipeline program graduation success may signal the need for further resources to decrease attrition among some minority groups,” the authors conclude.

About the Study:

Researchers conducted an electronic survey of nursing faculty. They obtained baccalaureate graduation and enrollment data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.