Sophia Balunek

Nursing students on their way home after a lab in the Given medical building Feb. 25.

Nursing enrollment sees slight increase

March 2, 2022

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences experienced a 1.5% increase in applications for the class of 2026, said Jay Jacobs, vice provost for Enrollment Management.

CNHS received a total of 2,184 applicants for fall 2021, compared to 1,824 in fall 2019. Of those applicants 1,138 applicants applied for the nursing program for fall 2021, and 922 applied in fall 2019, according to the Catamount Data Center.

Because the administration has limited ability to increase enrollment, the school will become more competitive, said Noma Anderson, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“This academic year, we were able to increase our enrollment by a few students,” Anderson said. “We aren’t sure if we’ll be able to increase it this upcoming year, even though admissions seem to be quite robust.”

The fall 2021 acceptance rate for the Nursing program was 49%, which is 1% more competitive than fall 2020, according to the Catamount Data Center.

Expanding enrollment for the nursing program requires adding more clinical seats for students in their upperclassmen years, which the administration is not currently doing, Jacobs said.

“There’s talks of [expanding the number of clinical seats] in the state,” Jacobs said. “But we’re not there quite yet, it takes time and effort for full time health professionals to train and educate the clinical students.”

CNHS enrolled 458 students in 2019, 456 students in 2020 and 488 students in fall 2021, according to the Catamount Data Center.

COVID-19 has increased the job competition between UVM faculty and outside hiring hospitals. Other hospitals offer higher salaries to professionals and they have a greater need for staff right now, Anderson said.

As a trade off, nursing students have more options for their post graduation careers, Anderson said.

“We’ve always had 98-100% success [in students finding jobs] in the first six months [of graduation],” Anderson said. “That number is the same except the students have more choices.”

Success rate is defined as students who work full-time, or part-time, participate in a volunteer or service program, serve in the U.S. military, or continue education divided by the total number of responses to the survey, according to the Catamount Data Center.

Before the 2021 Nursing school commencement, 95 graduates out of 104 went right into the hospital due to the demand, Anderson said.

The success rate for Nursing students in 2020 was 98.6% and the success rate in 2019 was 97.3%, according to the Catamount Data Center.

Finding a job has been relatively easy, senior Addy Rood said. She secured a position working in a COVID-19 ward in the UVM medical center after she graduates.

“Since every unit is overflowing with patients, turnover is really high because the nurses are getting burnt out wearing the protective equipment all day,” Rood said. “So [hospitals] are really desperate for nurses.”

More floors opened up within hospitals due to COVID-19, which makes nurses more employable, Rood said.

Universities across the U.S. saw a 5.6% increase in Nursing school enrollment in 2020, stated the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in an April 1, 2021 press release.

UVM’s Nursing school is not receiving the same attention as comparable institutions, Jacobs said.

“I don’t think we’re seeing the level of interest that other nursing programs across the country are getting at all,” Jacobs said “I think other nursing programs are growing in their applicant pool at faster rates.”

Additionally, applications to other colleges within the University are growing at  faster rates.

The Rubinstein school for Environment and Natural Resources is seeing the most amount of growth, Jacobs said.

“The College of Nursing and Health Sciences is sitting on a record applicant pool, but it is not proportional to the rest of the to the rest of the applications,” he said.

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