On March 3, 2008,The National League for Nursing released its annual Nursing Data Review of Academic Year 2005-06. The report states. "this year's is a decidedly good news/bad news report. It casts a wide lens on all types of pre-licensure nursing programs, including those offering diploma, associate and baccalaureate degrees, to determine rates of application, enrollment and graduation. The review also provides a comprehensive demographic profile of the current student population, documenting ethnic-racial identity, gender, and age." The report goes on to state, that on the positive side, "the survey shows a marked increase in the percentage of graduating pre-licensure students who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups, with the increase distributed across all racial and ethnic categories: Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians." "Because research increasingly links minority health disparities to a lack of cultural competence on the part of health care providers, who often differ from their patients with respect to racial-ethnic background, this is a promising finding," observed NLN CEO Beverly Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN.
"In addition, more men are finally electing to join the profession, according to the research. After falling off during the dot.com boom of the 1990s, the percentage of men graduating from basic RN programs has shown a small but steady growth trend for the past three years. In 2006, men represented just over 12.1 percent of nursing graduates."
The report cites a 5% rise in admissions across all RN programs, with the highest rate (20 percent) in baccalaureate degree programs. "More good news is that once students enroll in nursing programs, they tend to remain there and graduate to enter the workforce."
"Despite these encouraging signs, applications to RN programs fell a notable 8.7 percent in 2005-06, down from a peak in applications a year earlier. The drop is suspected to be the result of widespread awareness of the difficulty of gaining entry to nursing school, fueled by the continuing crippling shortage of nurse educators. By all indications, unmet demand for placement persists, with 88,000 qualified applications — one in three of all applications submitted — denied. Baccalaureate degree programs turned away 20 percent of its applications, while associate degree programs turned away 32.7 percent."
The entire report is available at: www.nln.org/research/datareview/executive_summary.pdf