Nursing Schools Expand Enrollments in Wake of Nursing Shortage

Across the nation and locally hospitals and nursing schools are coming together and creating innovative models to directly deal with the nationwide nursing shortage. Hospitals are devising plans to ensure they have a stream of recruits each year, and working to retain the nurses they have. They have begun offering nurse’s flexible hours, shift differentials and additional educational opportunities.

In the state of Connecticut the number of nursing program graduates statewide has jumped in the past few years, fueled by a projected shortage of nurses and an increased demand, health and education officials said. A report released last week by the state Department of Higher Education showed a 25 percent increase in the number of students earning nursing degrees last year. The increasing trend in nursing school enrollments has lead more students to seek-out and earn their nursing degree online as traditional classroom environments are at capacity.

However, despite the spike in students, the 1,076 nursing degrees conferred is short of the 1,081 nursing job openings projected by the state Department of Labor this year. And it will get worse, health officials said. Many nurses who are part of the baby-boomer generation are set to retire soon. By 2012, the state will be short about 6,000 registered nurses, according to labor department projections.

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