Enrollment in nursing programs continues to rise

(ModernHealthcare.com) The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says enrollment in entry-level nursing degree programs increased once again this year, as results from an AACN annual survey reveal a 3.9% boost in enrollment in Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs.The Washington-based AACN released preliminary data from its annual survey polling 840 nursing schools in America. Enrollment has risen every year since 2000. Enrollment in 2010 increased by 5.7% compared with 2009.

The survey also took a look at the job-offer rate of entry-level baccalaureate program graduates versus entry-level master’s program grads. The survey found 56% of baccalaureate grads received offers, while 74% of master’s grads received offers. The survey compares those rates to a 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which showed 24% of new college graduates from all disciplines received job offers at the time of graduation.

“With the Institute of Medicine and other leading authorities calling for significant increases in the number of nurses with baccalaureate and graduate degrees, moving to prepare a more highly educated nursing workforce has become a national priority,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa in a news release.

Nursing schools also turned away qualified applicants. The survey reported 51,082 qualified applicants were turned away from 503 entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs in 2011. The news coincides with a Health Affairs report published this week on a large cohort of young nurses joining the profession.