Faculty Shortage Turning More Nursing Students Away

From Advance for Nurses

Nursing StudentFindings from the NLN's Annual Survey of Schools of Nursing Academic Year 2010-2011 attest to the continued need for more nurse faculty to meet the needs of the U.S. healthcare system.

Conducted October-November of last year, the NLN survey reveals demand for pre-licensure program entry continues high despite a shifting student demographic, while competition for entry into post-licensure is increasing.

Unfortunately, notes NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, the percentage of post-licensure programs that turned away qualified applicants also rose between 2009 and 2011.

Most strikingly, the percentage of MSN programs turning away qualified applicants jumped by 15 percent over the past 2 years, from just one in three programs to almost half in 2011.

The survey also shows the percentage of racial-ethnic minority students enrolled in pre-licensure RN programs fell from a high of 29 percent in 2009 to 24 percent in 2011.

The majority of that decline stems from a steep reduction in African American students enrolled in associate degree nursing programs, which dropped by almost 5 percent to 8.6 percent in just 2 years.

Hispanics remain dramatically underrepresented among nursing students as well, according to NLN, representing only 6 percent of baccalaureate and associate degree nursing students.

But while educational capacity is still insufficient to keep up with demand, some promising trends were uncovered by the survey, says NLN president Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN,

"For example, the percentage of male pre-licensure graduates in 2011 was up to 15 percent after inching up only a percentage point a year since 2009," she notes. "In addition, the percentage of pre-licensure RN students over age 30 has declined in recent years."

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