The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recently released preliminary survey data from fall 2013 confirming that enrollment in masters and doctoral degree nursing programs increased last year.
AACNs annual survey is a source for actual (versus projected) data on enrollment and graduations reported by the nations baccalaureate- and graduate-degree programs in nursing.
According to a news release, nursing schools with masters programs reported a 4.4% increase in enrollment (461 schools reporting) and an 8.3% increase in graduations (436 schools reporting). In doctoral nursing programs, the greatest growth was seen in DNP programs where enrollment rose by 21.6% (207 schools reporting) from 2012 to 2013. During the same time period, enrollment in research-focused doctoral programs (i.e., PhD, DNSc) increased by 1.7% or 84 students, according to initial survey results (126 schools reporting).
Moving more nursing students into graduate programs is fast becoming a national priority given the growing demand for nurses to serve as primary care providers, faculty, researchers, and leaders, AACN President Jane Kirschling, RN, PhD, MSN, FAAN, said in the release. As opportunities for nurses prepared at the highest levels continue to expand, many more graduate-prepared nurses will be needed to provide essential healthcare services, including nurses to assume Advanced Practice Registered Nursing and other specialty roles.
In its 33rd year, AACNs Annual Survey of Institutions with Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Nursing Programs is conducted by the associations Research and Data Center.
The annual survey is a collaborative effort with data on nurse practitioner programs collected jointly with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and data on clinical nurse specialist programs collected with the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Complete survey results are compiled in three separate reports, which will be available in March 2014.
To see what else is trending in advanced education, visit Nurse.com/Advanced-Education