Enhancing Success in BSN Nursing Education for Minority Nurses

Article excerpt

Abstract: Because of the critical need for minority nurses, especially nursing faculty, steps must be taken to recruit, and insure the success of minority students. Strategies for achieving graduation and NCLEX success among minority students attending a BSN program are outlined. Methods for enhancing nurse faculty skills for teaching diverse students are described.

Key Words: Nursing Education, Student Retention, Retention Strategies, NCLEX Success Rates.

It is well documented that there is a nursing shortage in the nation and this includes a lack of minority nurses both in education and practice. This shortage is well known as is the need for better representation of minorities in the nursing profession (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 1996). The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a deficit of one million registered nurses (RNs) by 2010 due in part to a growing demand for nursing care and an increase in the retirement of nurses in education and practice.(U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002). Intensifying the overall nursing shortage is the increasing paucity of nurses seeking masters and doctoral degrees in nursing education (Spratley, Johnson, & Sochalski, 2001)

There is a critical need to increase the number of nurses from racial and ethnic minority groups. As of March 2000 there was an estimated 2,696,500 licensed registered nurses in the US, only about 16% were ethnic minority. Of this number, about 32% were educated at the baccalaureate level. These data indicate an alarming under-representation of minority nurses in the workforce.

The worldwide nursing shortage presents a golden opportunity to increase the number of minority nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level by developing and implementing innovative programs geared to promote academic success in the nursing programs. The 1995 report by the Pew Health Professions Commission called for a more concentrated production of bachelors or higher-degree nurses. Many hospitals not already requiring the Bachelors in Science in Nursing (BSN) degree have established the "BSN-Preferred" policy for new hires. Given the changing demographics of this country, it is imperative to give attention to the characteristics of the emerging minority population. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 1995) advocates that the registered nurse be educated at the BSN level. Further, a report by the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (1996), policy advisors to Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services, urged that "at least two-thirds of the nurse workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees by 2010. This group advocates for an improved nursing workforce to meet the changing health care needs of the American public. According to the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, Hispanic and African-American nurses were more likely to have received their basic education in nursing in associate degree programs (Spratley et al., 2001).

Increasingly, schools of nursing are seeking to increase the applicant pool and provide quality nursing care for its citizens. Some hospitals have resorted to the old strategy of recruiting and importing foreign nurses to help alleviate the nursing shortage. In contrast, schools of nursing are looking much closer to home and are increasing their efforts to "grow their own."

In many states, there is a stark contrast between the racial and ethnic composition of the population and the ethnic diversity of the RN population. Nursing literature is replete with suggestions on the recruitment and retention of disadvantaged students, including orientation programs that allow students the opportunity to develop a sense of what is expected from a nursing program.

According to Pallak, Gary and Perdue (1997), students enjoy orientation programs that provide information about financial aid packages, curriculum academic support programs, and who have in place programs that support cultural diversity and inclusiveness as a norm in all aspects of their program. …

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