New data from the National League for Nursing (NLN) were mixed bag of good and bad news. On the positive side, more new graduates than ever before were members of racial or ethnic minorities in the 2005-2006 academic year. In addition, the percentage of men graduating from basic RN programs showed a small but steady increase, with men representing about 12% of nursing graduates in 2006. But on the downside, applications to RN programs fell nearly 9%, reflecting widespread awareness that getting into a nursing program is tough because of the severe, ongoing shortage of nurse-educators.
Here are some other highlights from the NLN data:
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* Overall graduation rates grew by over 8% in 2005-2006.
* About 59% of all new graduates eligible to enter the workforce were prepared in 2-year associate degree programs, 38% in baccalaureate programs, and 8% in diploma programs.
* An estimated 88,000 potential nurses were turned away from nursing programs in 2005-;2006. Baccalaureate programs turned away 20% of applicants; associate degree programs turned away 33%.
An executive summary of Nursing Data Review, Academic Year 2005-;2006 is available at http://www.nln.org/research/datareview/executive_summary.pdf.