FRIDAY, October 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Even though a large number of American nurses are leaving their jobs due to the stress of the pandemic, there has been an increase in applications to nursing schools, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Enrollment in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs increased by 5.6% from 2019 to 2020, with just over 250,000 new students, the Associated Press reported. Figures for the 2021-2022 school year will not be available until January, but there has been a continued surge of interest, administrators say. Educators say the surge in nursing school enrollment is driven by young people who see the pandemic as an opportunity and a challenge, the PA reported.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing has seen its highest number of applicants ever, according to associate executive dean Marie Nolan. Brianna Monte, 19, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, decided to become a nurse after watching nurses caring for her 84-year-old grandmother, who was diagnosed with COVID last year -19 and also had cancer.
“They were changing their protective gear between each patient, running around like crazy trying to make sure all of their patients were taken care of,” she told the PA. “I had that moment of clarity that made me want to get straight into healthcare and join frontline workers.”
An increase in enrollment could alleviate a shortage of nurses that existed long before the pandemic began. But that has brought its own problems: The increase, combined with the departure of too many experienced nurses who help train students, has left many nursing programs without room for expansion. Nursing faculty is expected to decline 25% by 2025 nationwide as nurses retire or leave due to burnout or other reasons, said Patricia Hurn, dean of nursing. school of nursing at the University of Michigan.
Meanwhile, hospital chiefs across the country are reporting that thousands of nurses have resigned or retired during the outbreak, many of whom are exhausted and demoralized.
Associated Press Item