Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Attracts More Students to University Nursing Programs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Attracts More Students to University Nursing Programs

Article excerpt

Oklahoma is among the states now achieving some success in attracting more students to university nursing programs.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing gathered data from coast to coast last month and announced the end of a five-year decline in enrollments by first-time nursing students at universities and four-year degree programs. This state was one of the gainers.

A spokesman for the association said both part and fulltime enrollments at 10 Oklahoma colleges were up by 12.6 percent from a year ago. The state had 902 nursing students in the 1989-1990 academic year. Even the 801 students enrolled in the preceeding year represented an increase, according to the association's two-year analysis.

The gains were attributed in large part to higher salaries for nurses and stepped up media attention to a critical shortage of nurses. Yet another influence:

"A more intensified recruitment effort."

At the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing, there also were admissions of "more extended recruiting - especially among minorities."

It's a hopeful trend at the time that a boost is sorely needed. The shortage of nurses here and elsewhere has been perceived as potential disaster for individual patients as well as a health care system burdened by runaway costs.

The turnaround was sparked not only by efforts to raise salaries, but by relentless media attention on the job opportunities in health care. As the public became more aware of the shortages in nursing and in other health care occupations, a brisk response followed.

The results, moreover, are beginning to show up. This year the state's university baccalaureate programs had 270 graduates, a 17.9 percent increase over the 229 graduates reported a year earlier.

Registered nurses with diplomas from hospital-based schools or associate degrees from community colleges still are seeking baccalaureate degrees, although at a slightly reduced rate.

This year, 211 were enrolled in Oklahoma's university programs, but that figure was down from last year's 263, a drop of nearly 20 percent. …

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