AACN Survey Finds More Nurses Are Pursuing Higher Education
Preliminary data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN) 32nd
annual survey reveals that enrollment in various professional nursing programs increased from 2011 to 2012.
Findings are based on data reported from 664 of the 856 nursing schools in the U.S. with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs, according to the AACN press release.
The survey found a 3.5 percent increase in entry-level BSN programs. This number is based on data supplied by the same 539 schools reporting in both 2011 and 2012, noted the AACN.
There was a 22.2 percent (471 schools reporting) rise in the number of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree completion programs.
This year marks the 10th year of enrollment increases in these programs, which signals a growing interest among nurses and employers for baccalaureate-prepared nurses, stated the AACN.
In addition, the initial data shows higher enrollment in master's and doctoral degree nursing programs this year. Nursing schools with master's programs reported an 8.2 percent increase, according to the survey. DNP programs saw an increase of 19.6 percent (166 schools reporting) while participation in research-focused doctoral programs (PhD, DNS) increased by 1.3 percent (96 schools reporting).
The survey also reported that nursing programs could not accommodate all of the qualified applicants due to barriers such as shortages of clinical placement sites, faculty, and funding.
The AACN data shows that 52,212 qualified applications were turned away from 566 entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs in 2012 - a number the AACN expects will increase when final data is available in March 2013.
So how are new nurses fairing following graduation? Additional data collected by the AACN outside its annual survey found nurses graduating with BSNs were more than twice as likely to have jobs at the time of graduation as those entering the workforce in other fields.
Students graduating with MSNs were most likely to have a job at graduation (73 percent for MSNs vs. 57 percent for BSNs), according to AACN data.
What do you think? Have you noticed a renewed interest in advanced nursing degrees? How far do you plan to take your education?