Nursing colleges across the country are seeing an increase in students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing, according to a study released last month by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Nebraska Methodist College is no exception.
The study, which surveyed nursing schools across the nation, found a 3.5 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 in entry-level bachelor’s programs, an 8.2 percent jump in master’s programs, and a nearly 20 percent surge in enrollments in doctorate programs in nursing.
Nebraska Methodist College was featured in a story on local ABC affiliate KETV Channel 7 in a story about this very trend. In the past five years, NMC has seen a 29 percent growth in enrollment in its Bachelor’s in Nursing Science programs and its enrollment nearly triple in graduate nursing programs. The college’s overall enrollment has grown by 52 percent in the past five years. NMC is also in the accreditation process for a new doctorate in nursing program, reflecting the increased demand for highly-educated nurses.
More importantly for students seeking jobs, the AACN study also indicated a hiring preference for nursing graduates with bachelor’s degrees and above. Nationally, 88 percent of bachelor’s-level nursing graduates and 92 percent of master’s-level nursing graduates found employment within four to six months of graduation in 2012. Overall, NMC has a 98 percent job placement rate, which includes nursing and a number of other healthcare professions degrees.
The survey also asked schools of nursing if employers in their area were requiring or strongly preferring new hires with bachelor’s degrees. The findings showed that 39.1 percent of employers require new hires to have a BSN while 77.4% strongly prefer BSN-prepared nurses.
That data is also good news for patients as research shows that nurses with baccalaureate level preparation are linked to better patient outcomes.