An online article in Nursing Economic$ explores the financial challenges to new nurses entering the work force, including student loans and finding a job.
In the article Nursing Student Loan Debt: A Secondary Analysis of the National Student Nurses Association Annual Survey of New Graduates, authors Veronica Feeg, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Diane Mancino, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN, analyzed four years of data from the NSNA New Graduate Annual Survey (2010-13).
Understanding educational loan debt, school choice, and borrowing patterns of nursing students specifically is essential to forecast and plan for an adequate supply of educated nurses in the future, the authors said, according to a news release.
According to the article, although hiring new nursing graduates appears to be improving across the country from 72% in 2012 to 81% in 2013 only 55%-59% of new nurses with bachelors degrees reported being employed in the four years analyzed (2010-13); for associate degree nurses, the percentage ranged from 42%-45%.
During the four years, about 70% of all graduate nurses reported graduating with debt, according to the release. In their analysis, the authors discovered that nursing students are similar to all undergraduate college students with average student loan debt [approximately $30,000 per borrower].
The authors also pointed out that funding for advance practice RNs dominates grant programs offered through the Health Resources and Services Administration. The only HRSA undergraduate funding available for nursing education supports individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The authors concluded that the data analyzed in this study suggest new nurses are more likely to be in debt than in the past. Policymakers and educators need to be aware of the debt that is carried by these new graduates, the authors advised. It is imperative strategies be created to support a workforce that is prepared to meet the health care challenges faced by the next generation of nurses.
See the full report: http://www.nursingeconomics.net/ce/2016/articleSO.pdf