Nursing Shortage

Nursing_studentsArizona is one of many states that could soon face a serious nursing shortage. ABC15 in Phoenix recently ran a recent report that said, in part:

“Arizona could see a shortage of 50,000 nurses by 2030, which could impact healthcare not only in the state but across the country.

The American Nurses Association estimates the US will need to produce more than one million new registered nurses in the next four years to meet the country’s healthcare needs. 

And yet, CNN.com ran a recent story with the headline, “Nursing schools are rejecting thousands of applicants — in the middle of a nursing shortage.” Below is an excerpt from that report.

In 2017, nursing schools turned away more than 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs. Going back a decade, nursing schools have annually rejected around 30,000 applicants who met admissions requirements, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“Some of these applicants graduated high school top of their class with a 3.5 GPA or higher,” said Rosseter. “But the competition to get into a nursing school right now is so intense.”

Because of the lack of openings, nursing programs across the board — in community colleges to undergraduate and graduate schools — are rejecting students in droves.

You may wonder, why aren’t schools simply adding more teachers and more classes to keep up with demand? To that end, Consumer Affairs wrote, “Nursing schools are having a difficult time getting qualified teachers because many would have to take a significant pay cut to leave nursing and join academia. The average salary of a nurse practitioner is $97,000 compared to an average salary of $78,575 for a nursing school assistant professor, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.”

AzFamily.com quoted Robert Rosseter, spokesman for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as saying:

“It’s really a catch 22 situation. There’s tremendous demand from hospitals and clinics to hire more nurses,” he said. “There’s tremendous demand from students who want to enter nursing programs, but schools are tapped out.”

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) says it is is working with “schools, policy makers, nursing organizations, and the media to bring attention to this healthcare concern.” AACN lists a number of specific strategies on its website to deal with the growing nursing shortage, including:

  • Many statewide initiatives are underway to address both the shortage of RNs and nurse educators.
  • Nursing schools are forming strategic partnerships and seeking private support to help expand student capacity.
  • AACN announced the expansion of NursingCAS, the nation’s centralized application service for RN programs, to include graduate nursing programs.

We’d love to hear what you think about the nursing shortage and how schools can expand class sizes to allow more qualified students to enroll. Do you know someone who has been rejected by a school? If so, ask them to share their story with us. Working together with our partners to look for solutions to the health issues we face is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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