Mid-career pros choosing nursing training

With the nationwide nursing shortage barreling down on providers, it's nice to learn that a growing number of mid-career professionals from outside the medical profession are pursuing nursing degrees. Over the past few years, the number of enrollees in nursing programs who already have a bachelor's degree in another field has shot up, from 6,860 in 2003 to 12,347 in 2006. Nursing instructors say a mix of factors have contributed to this trend, including rising nurse salaries, widespread job openings and increased interest in public-spirited jobs in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, the academic system can't absorb all of this interest yet. Nursing schools don't have enough slots to accept all of the qualified applicants who apply. And, hospitals also don't have enough student nursing positions available. (If a recent study is any indication, that's because nurse training and retention isn't their highest priority.) Looks like it's time for the industry to redouble its efforts to open up the nurse training pipeline!

To get more background on this trend:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report article

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