The U.S. was already facing a growing shortage of nurses when Covid hit and accelerated the crisis.
According to a recent Center for American Progress (CAP) report, the primary challenges that higher education institutions face in graduating more nurses are: a shortage of nurse educators, a lack of clinical placements for student nurses, and inadequate campus facilities and equipment.
Associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs are especially critical in providing opportunities for underrepresented populations to enter the nursing field (See chart, below). And a growing number of ADN graduates are enrolling in bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs, which more healthcare employers are seeking. From 2015-16 to 2019-20, the number of ADN grads who enrolled in a BSN program grew 23%, according to a 2021 report from the National Education Progression in Nursing (NEPIN). Between 2000 and 2020, the percentage of ADNs graduating with a BSN increased from 13% to 27%.
“ADN programs subsequently enrolling in BSN programs account for much of the diversity seen in the BSN programs,” the NEPIN report says. “The ADN serves as a valuable entry point for many diverse nurses.”