Number of nursing students rise, many turned away

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More students than ever are trying to become nurses, but many qualified applicants are being turned away due to lack of faculty and teaching space, a nursing college group said Friday.

Enrollment in entry-level nursing programs increased 5.1% in 2011, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. But while more than 169,000 students are enrolled, more than 58,000 students were turned away due to “insufficient clinical teaching sites, a lack of faculty, limited classroom space, insufficient preceptors and budget cuts.”

But there is good news. More men and minority candidates are seeking nursing degrees, and a push for more nurses to receive their doctorate degrees seems to be paying off: Enrollment in doctor of nursing practice programs grew 28.9% in 2011, the college said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that 1.2 million additional nurses will be needed by 2020 to replace those who have retired and to fill new positions. Long-term care in particular has struggled with finding and retaining qualified nurses over the past few years.

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