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Nursing: a Field on the Rise

January 25th, 2011

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Preliminary data released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) indicates that enrollment in nursing programs has increased.

Only 648 of the 807 schools of nursing surveyed have reported their findings, which show a 6.1 percent rise in enrollment over last year. This is the 10th consecutive year of growth for professional registered nursing programs.

The association’s data shows a surge in applications to baccalaureate nursing degree programs – from 208,784 in 2009 to 226,675 in 2010. Officials are attributing these findings to a growing student demand and employers' changing expectations.

Graduate nursing programs have also received an influx of new students, as the study indicates a 9.8 percent increase in enrollment.

“AACN applauds the efforts undertaken by schools to find creative ways to expand the nursing student population despite funding cuts and resource constraints facing many academic programs,” says Kathleen Potempa, AACN president.

However, the preliminary data also reflects the growing shortage of nursing faculty, which could prove to be a barrier to any future expansion. According to the survey’s results to date, 52,115 qualified applications were turned away from 565 entry-level programs in 2010.

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