Nursing Schools Reject Applicants Despite Nursing Shortage
The United States is experiencing a critical nursing shortage – yet schools are turning tens of thousands of qualified applicants away every year.
The demand for quality health care has begun to spike as a greater number of Americans age, and many of the nation’s most experienced nurses are retiring. Without quality nursing graduates to replace them, the country is facing a serious crisis. Meanwhile, nursing schools are having to dismiss applications in bulk due to an exceedingly high faculty vacancy rate within nursing education programs. All of these factors have combined to form the perfect storm.
According to the American Nurses Association, there are currently about three million nurses in the United States. In order to fulfill its health care needs, the country will need to produce more than one million new registered nurses by 2022.
In 2017 alone, more than 56,000 qualified nursing applicants were turned away from undergraduate nursing programs.
Only a decade ago, that number was closer to 30,000. Some programs have found themselves turning away one student for every student they accept – many nursing student hopefuls having made multiple attempts to gain entry into a nursing program.
The problem? Nursing schools are struggling to hire more qualified teachers on to substantiate their faculty. Reason being, working nurses are offered better pay than nurse educators. The difference in pay between the two occupations averages out to around $20,000, steeply favoring working nurses. Thus, many schools have hit a wall when it comes to keeping educators on. As a safety measure, the board of nursing has changed the maximum number of students a teacher can have at any given time.
There simply aren’t enough new nursing graduates to replenish the workforce.
Despite the constraints, nursing programs are thinking of ways to accommodate more students.
Educators have found that increasing class size to accommodate more students is neither easy nor practical given the clinical space or time required to properly train a higher number of students. However, schools across the country are currently working to find new ways to accommodate a greater number students.
Here are some of the prevailing ideas to help accommodate a larger number of nursing candidates at your program.
Programs have considered expanding to new campuses, and applying new models of partnering with hospitals to allow their active nursing staff to teach trainees.
Some schools are offering accelerated associate nursing programs, allowing qualified individuals, such as qualified paramedics or veterans, to be admitted straight into the second year of their two-year program.
Perhaps the most promising solution helping training programs “do more with less” is the adoption of web-based medical education training, testing, and activity control programs that dramatically reduce administrative time or physical space requirements.
These solutions are also popular because they allow for systemic control of trainee activity across multiple campus locations and can also incorporate other institutional programs, such as physician residencies, etc, where all clinical training information is automatically pushed directly to respective faculty and administrators.
All of this saves the extra time and labor needed to accommodate more students without a drop in education outcome quality.
Despite the numerous hurdles they’ve yet to overcome, these new “bridge programs” are helping nursing schools remain hopeful.
“These bridge programs could really help with the [nursing] shortage. You have to address the nursing shortage by thinking out of the box.”Rebecca Myszenski, Dean of the Division of Health Sciences, Mott Community College
Kavilanz, Parija. “Nursing Schools Are Rejecting Thousands of Applicants — in the Middle of a Nursing Shortage.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 30 Apr. 2018, 9:11 AM ET, money.cnn.com/2018/04/30/news/economy/nursing-school-rejections/index.html.
McCrary, Rachel. “Local Colleges Partner Together to Tackle Nursing Shortage.” Saginaw, Flint, MI News, Weather, Photos, 30 Apr. 2018, www.wnem.com/story/38077284/local-colleges-partner-together-to-tackle-nursing-shortage.
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