HCTW News: Enrollment growth in U.S. nursing schools at 8-year low

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, January 2, 2009

The nation's baccalaureate nursing student population rose just 2% last year, leading the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to believe that the U.S.'s nursing schools have reached capacity.

The year's increase is the eighth consecutive year of growth in entry-level nursing programs, the AACN said, but that growth decreases each year. In 2003, for example, enrollment increased almost 17%, but declined sharply since then. Survey numbers released last month also show enrollment growth in master's nursing programs and research-focused doctorates is also minimal.

The declined enrollments, however, aren't the result of a lack of interest in the nursing profession, said AACN President Fay Raines in a press release. The demand is there, but so are barriers to expanding student capacity.

AACN's survey confirmed that interest in the nursing profession remains high. In 2008, almost 28,000 qualified applicants were rejected from entry-level baccalaureate programs, mostly due to a shortage of faculty.

Source: AACN


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