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Enrollment Growth Slows at U.S. Nursing Colleges and Universities in 2007 Despite Calls for More Registered Nurses
Date:12/3/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) today released preliminary survey data that show that enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased by 4.98 percent from 2006 to 2007. Though this marks the seventh consecutive year of enrollment growth, the rate at which nursing schools have been able to increase student capacity has declined sharply since 2003 when enrollment was up by 16.6 percent. While this increase represents a positive trend, AACN is concerned that more than 30,000 qualified applicants were turned away from baccalaureate nursing programs last year due primarily to an intensifying shortage of nurse faculty.

"In an environment of diminishing faculty and financial resources, nursing schools nationwide must be commended once again for managing to expand student capacity in professional nursing programs," said AACN President Jeanette Lancaster. "Still, with the nation facing a nursing shortage into the foreseeable future, more must be done to ensure that all qualified individuals looking to enter the field are accommodated in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs."

By the year 2020, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects that more than one million new Registered Nurses (RNs) will be needed in the U.S. healthcare system to meet the demand for nursing care. HRSA projects that nursing schools must increase the number of graduates by 90 percent in order to adequately address the nursing shortage. With preliminary data showing a 7.4 percent increase in graduations from baccalaureate nursing programs this year, schools are falling far short of meeting this target.

Trends in Nursing School Enrollments:

AACN's annual survey is the most reliable source for actual (versus projected) data on enrollment and graduations reported by the nation's baccalaureate- and graduate-degree programs in nursing. This year's 4.98 pe
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SOURCE American Association of Colleges of Nursing
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