Friday, March 13, 2015

Nursing Schools Can't Grow Fast Enough, Turn Away Thousands of Qualified Applicants

Job openings for nurses are abundant. However, many of the job seekers looking to take on these positions aren't given the chance to be accepted to the nursing schools required.

According to Bloomberg Business, "In a report released Wednesday by the Georgetown Center on Education & the Workforce, researchers showed that bachelor's of nursing programs rejected 37 percent of applicants who were qualified to get in during the 2011-12 admissions cycle. For associate's degree programs, the number is even higher: 51 percent of qualified applications weren't approved."

It's a simple matter of supply and demand. Nursing schools can't expand their staff or facilities fast enough to accommodate all the qualified candidates that are applying. As a result, tens of thousands of students who complete the required coursework and earned the minimum GPA to get into nursing programs aren't accepted, the study shows. "Meanwhile, the health-care industry, and nursing in particular, continues to explode: While the U.S. economy will add 1.6 million jobs for nurses over the next five years, it's slated to face a shortage of 193,000 nursing professionals in 2020, according to the report."

Part of the reason nursing schools can't keep up with rising demand has to do with the clinicals required for nursing programs. "By the time you're done with the classroom, you actually have to physically touch a patient ... to learn how to draw blood and take vital signs," Smith says. More than enough potential nurses are ready to advance their nursing career, but there are a limited number of supervisors—or patients—for students to work with, meaning rotations turns into a game of musical chairs, and not everyone gets a seat when the musical call light stops.

Difficulty hiring faculty members may be the biggest factor preventing nursing schools from accepting all qualified applicants. About 34 percent of 414 schools surveyed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (pdf) said an insufficient number of faculty was the most important reason they didn't accept all qualified applicants, followed by not having enough clinical sites where students can practice (30 percent). So why don't they just hire more people? Turns out that unlike aspiring nursing students, qualified nursing instructors are scarce. Smith says that's because most nurses who could go back to school for advanced degrees prefer to pursue advanced practice and management roles, instead of teaching, which usually isn't as lucrative.

What the industry needs is an innovative way to meet the demand of nurses with the limited resources of the education industry. What if instead of clinicals be spread out thinly across multiple schools and programs, there were concentrated clinical locations across the country? What if instead of weeks of clinical practice, nurse candidates could spend one intense weekend at one of these concentrated super clinical locations and show their ability to hand patients hands-on? What if nurses were taken out of the classrooms and commutes, out of restricting schedules, and given the freedom to make their own schedules and go at a pace that's comfortable with their life and schedule? That's what Rue Education believes in. Rue's RN bridge program prepares LPN/LVNs, Paramedics, and RTs to earn the ASN degree in nursing and pursue a career as an RN. Courses are online, flexible, and can be completed as fast or as slow as a student needs. There are no wait-lists so students can start whenver they're ready. You'll have academic support for any questions or a boost in motivation and you'll have the expertise from tutor-assisted courses. This program was inspired by the needs of non-traditional students. These include working adults, single parents, or anyone whose schedule doesn't allow time for commutes to class or rigid schedules. If this sounds like an ideal alternative to traditional RN school, learn more at

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