2012 Review: Nursing Students, Graduates on the Move

As many official predictions warned, the demand for nurses has created a whirlwind of challenges that are expected to last throughout the current decade. In response to the warnings, students across the nation have applied to nursing schools in record numbers – creating a stark increase in the number of new nursing students in 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an upswing in the number of available jobs for graduating nursing students, further fostering the dramatic uptick in college applications. Now, authorities in the areas of nursing education and the nurse profession are reporting that conditions are improving for students who were denied access to college nursing programs in recent years.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing had released a report earlier in 2012, claiming that their data showed a marked increase in applications as early as 2011. However, more students were turned away due to program size limits. “…Enrollment in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs increased last year as more nurses answered the call to advance their education. Though nursing schools have been able to expand student capacity despite faculty and resource shortfalls, the latest data show that 75,587 qualified applications to professional nursing programs were turned away last year, including more than 14,354 applications to graduate programs.” (Read more: AACN Data… Enrollment Surge)

The availability of college-level nursing programs isn’t the only improvement that the AACN discovered in 2012. A new study shows that hiring is on the rise – at least for BSN and MSN grads. According to Nurse.com News, “The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has released preliminary survey data showing that enrollment in all types of professional nursing programs increased from 2011 to 2012, including a 3.5% increase in entry-level BSN programs,” according to Nurse.com.

An authority on the profession, Nurse.com says the study shows exciting success for graduates.  “Conducted for the third consecutive year, survey findings show baccalaureate nursing graduates remain more than twice as likely to have jobs at the time of graduation as those entering the workforce in other fields. While the employment rate at graduation increased slightly, from 56% in 2011 to 57% in 2012 for BSN students, the employment rate at four to six months after graduation was identical over the two-year period (88%). By comparison, the National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted a national survey of 50,000 new college graduates across disciplines and found that only 25.5% of new graduates in 2011 had a job offer at the time of graduation.” (Read more: Nurse Education Enrollments… 2012)

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