A 2012 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) revealed that more nurses are pursuing bachelor and graduate degrees in nursing.
The executive director of the AACN, Geraldine Bednash, said, “We are thrilled to see the continuing growth.”
Maryjoan Ladden, a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called this report “great news and a great start.”
As of 2010, about 50 percent of all nurses held bachelors of science degrees in nursing or higher. The AACN survey of 664 schools with bachelors and graduate programs showed a 3.5 enrollment increase in 2012, followed by a 5.1 percent increase in 2011.
The Correlation Between Degrees and Jobs
With nursing shortages on the horizon, many nurses are now choosing to further their education. Another AACN study showed that nurses with bachelor’s degrees were more than twice as likely to land a job following their course of study than those entering the workforce from other fields and programs.
Further, the AACN also reported a 22 percent increase in the completion of RN to BSN programs, a ten-year increase for these programs. Bednash said that nurses “are understanding the importance of getting more education to be the best providers.”
The AACN study also found that 39.1 percent of employers were requiring a BSN for their new hires and that another 77 percent strongly preferred nurses with BSN degrees.
Increases in BSN enrollments reflects the growing trend for employers seeking nurses with advanced skills who are able to manage patients with complex and chronic health issues.
Currently, a lack of nursing faculty and clinical sites remains a concern for educating the nation’s nursing workforce, although institutions are still seeing increases in their enrollment. Distance learning and clinical partnerships are now being utilized more to address these issues.