This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 30, 2011

Addressing Global Nursing Shortages

Some years ago, the multidisciplinary Global Advisory Group of the World Health Organization acknowledged a worldwide shortage of nurses. The shortage was caused by an increased demand for nurses, while fewer people were choosing the nursing profession and the nurses worldwide were aging. The shortage applied to nurses in practice as well as the nurse faculty who taught students. The lack of nurse faculty meant that we could not train as many nurses.

That's why we were pleased to see the news from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) that enrollment in doctoral nursing programs increased significantly last year. In fact, enrollments in baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral nursing programs all continued to increase.

In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a landmark report on ?The Future of Nursing?. The report recommended a doubling of the number of nurses in the United States workforce with doctoral degrees. With widespread growth in the number of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, nursing is well on its way to achieving this recommendation. In just five years, the number of schools offering the DNP has increased from 20 programs in 2006 to 153 programs in 2010. Last year, enrollment in these programs grew by 35.3 percent with 7,034 students now enrolled in DNP programs.

In spite of all of this good news, the number of students turned away reached a new high. Though interest in nursing programs is strong, thousands of qualified applicants are turned away from four-year colleges and universities. In fact, AACN's survey found that 67,563 qualified applications were not accepted at schools of nursing last year, due primarily to a shortage of faculty and resource constraints. The top reasons reported by nursing schools for not accepting all qualified students into entry-level baccalaureate programs, include insufficient clinical teaching sites (65.1percent), a lack of faculty (62.2percent), limited classroom space (48.2percent), insufficient preceptors (30.1percent), and budget cuts (29.3percent).

With Baby Boomers worldwide aging, expect the demand for nurses to row and to see more nurse migration across borders, as these valuable healthcare professionals look for the best opportunities.


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