The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has released a preliminary report on the results of the association’s latest annual survey of U.S. nursing programs. The report shows nurses are advancing their education: Enrollment in all types of professional nursing programs increased in 2012, even though many fully qualified candidates seeking to enter the profession were turned away — 52,212 in all.
Enrollment in entry-level bachelor of science in nursing programs grew 3.5 percent in 2012, but the most notable increase occurred in baccalaureate degree-completion (RN to BSN) programs: a 22.2 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. This marks the 10th year of growth in programs of this type.
The DNP Is Popular
Graduate enrollments also increased significantly. Schools offering master’s programs reported an 8.2 percent increase in enrollments, while schools offering doctoral programs in nursing practice experienced a 19.6 percent jump. Research-focused Ph.D. programs reported a smaller increase, only 1.3 percent, but even at that level, 195 qualified candidates were turned away.
BSN Grads Are Far More Employable
The value of those programs is greater than ever. In a separate survey, AACN collected data showing that employers continue to prefer candidates with at least a baccalaureate degree. For the third consecutive year, AACN reports that BSN graduates are more than twice as likely to have jobs at the time of graduation as graduates entering the workforce in other fields.
The data also reflect that graduates of entry-level nursing master’s degree programs, which are a popular choice for those transitioning into nursing with degrees in other fields, are more likely to have secured jobs at the time of graduation: 73 percent of candidates with MSNs versus 57 percent of candidates with BSNs.
Even in a time of widespread nursing shortages, employers still want to hire the best-educated candidates.