Nursing News: Nursing Workforce Answered the Call for More Education

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 22nd, 2012

The release of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM), “Future of Nursing” report stimulated conversations about raising the educational level of the nursing workforce. Enrollment in nursing programs increased last year, as more nurses answered the call to advance their education.

According to new data released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), enrollment in undergraduate nursing programs increased by 5.1 percent in 2011. At the same time, enrollment in PhD nursing programs increased by 7.9 percent over the previous year.

Though it is good news that nursing schools are expanding their student capacity, 75,587 qualified applicants were still turned away last year. The top reasons reported include:

  • Insufficient clinical teaching sites (65.2 percent)
  • Lack of faculty (62.5 percent)
  • Limited classroom space (46.1 percent)
  • Insufficient preceptors (29.4 percent)
  • Budget cuts (24.8 percent).

IOM’s report called for at least 80% of the nursing workforce to hold a baccalaureate degree by 2020 and a doubling of the number of nurses with doctorates. AACN believes that implementing the IOM recommendations will drive the nursing profession forward; moreover, high levels of education will better position nurses to become full partners in reforming healthcare delivery systems.

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