Survey Says: Nursing School Enrollments Continue to Climb

On December 6th, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) released the preliminary statistics from its latest survey of top nursing schools in the country.

Of the 840 nursing schools that were solicited for information, 640 (77%) responded saying that the general number of newly enrolled students had once again climbed over the previous year’s enrollment statistic.

According to a 2010 edition of the survey, the number of entry-level nursing degree program enrollments had risen significantly over the last year at a rate of 5.7%.

The newest AACN survey shows an overall increase of 3.9% in Bachelor of Science level nursing programs, which is aligned with a continued increase in nursing school enrollments in the eleven years since 2000.

The increase in nursing school enrollment is likely due to multiple factors in the industry. On the economic side, the health industry is expected to maintain or increase the demand for qualified professionals entering the workforce. The health industry is considered a stable investment by students and profiteers, alike.

The Institute of Medicine and leading health authorities have called for a significant rise in the number of qualified registered nurses entering the profession with baccalaureate and higher graduate degrees.

In light of the call for more professionals in nursing, AACN President Kathleen Potempka says that “…moving to prepare a more highly educated nursing workforce has become a national priority,” but went on to express concern over the impact of funding woes, stating “AACN is pleased to see robust interest in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs, despite deep budget cuts and resource constraints facing many schools of nursing, which may impede future growth.”

Graduates of nursing schools in all echelons of discipline are more likely to get a job offer following graduation than most other fields of study.

Statistics among all professional disciplines indicated that only 24% of graduates were offered a job following graduation while 56% nursing school baccalaureate graduates received a job offer and 74% of masters degree graduated were offered a job after graduation.

The success of nursing schools in the past decade can be attributed to a 62% boost in registered nurses between the ages of 23 and 26 entering the workforce, though more than 50,000 qualified applicants were denied enrollment during the last survey period because of the deluge of interest in the field.