What is the missing link to get admitted to nursing programs? The majority of universities and colleges have nursing as the highest demand major. For instance, from Hunter College, one-fifth of the 700 new students and transfer students choose nursing as their major. The appeal for nursing programs does not surprise me. Nursing ranks as the USA’s most trusted profession that provides the much-needed health care that the national health-care system promises, but at times it fails to deliver.
As a profession, nursing provides practical skills, an enviable entry salary, and an opportunity to deliver health care to those who need it. The nurse’s timetable is demanding and arduous but often provides four days off and three days on duty.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing provides a chance to do well. However, for four-year higher learning institutions, a small portion of majors enrolls in a nursing program.
According to a report by CNN, there exists an irony in the current situation. The report paints a picture of an acute shortage of nurses in the US. Yet, medical or nursing schools reject hundreds of qualified applicants due to challenges in expanding class sizes and attempting to recruit nursing teachers. The shortage of nurses varies from specialty and region. As a result, competition for admission to nursing programs is tight since students with high grades get closed out. Nationally, 33% of qualified applicants to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing gets rejected. Applicants who get rejected from nursing programs can get demoralized and end up leading hopeless lives. The challenge for inadequate capacity is expensive technologies and facilities coupled with a faculty shortage and restricted placements. However, others allude that the entry problem is restricting supply and increasing salaries and prestige more than capacity constraints. Nevertheless, the constraint of capacity is real.
Nursing as a profession is more than a calling since most students who end up becoming nurses complete other bachelor’s degrees such as biomedical sciences, human biology, and psychology and after that enroll in an accelerated program in nursing.
There is a better option to enrolling in a nursing program. There are two viable options here. The first option is to inspire nursing students to enroll in other allied or applied health-care programs such as sports medicine, speech-language pathology, public health, physical therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, nutrition, medical technology, and medical imaging kinesiology. It is the critical approach that has high chances of securing admission to a nursing program. However, the majority of nursing hopefuls consider this option as a disappointing consolation prize. The other option is inspiring students to consider health sciences within the context of liberal arts. The second option requires students to enroll in a master’s degree; in the end, it will result in a rewarding outcome economically and in professional and personal satisfaction. Options include medical ethics, health policy, health informatics, health economics, global health, children’s health, biostatistics, and aging. These can result in immunology careers, health-care safety, quality, health policy, health communication, health administration, geriatrics, epidemiology, environmental health, biomedical informatics, or addiction studies. Society has a responsibility to offer students a clear path into careers. There are fears that artificial intelligence will bring about displacement in some careers that can easily get automated. However, there are careers that automation or outsourcing that is difficult; such vocations include managerial skills, advanced analytic, and caregiving. Those students who fail to secure admission into a nursing program should not that society has rejected them but rather be hopeful of a better tomorrow with a related course or by waiting for a second chance. We ought to reflect on Hamlet’s words, to the effect that more things exist in earth and heaven than what we dream of in our philosophy. It means that there are numerous career options in health than what exists in students’ minds.