Nursing Degrees On Rise In NY


By Jon Campbell

The number of registered nurses graduating each year from New York colleges has more than doubled since the height of a nursing shortage in 2002, according to a new report.

The survey of in-state colleges by the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies showed the number of nursing graduations has increased in each of the past 13 years, from a low of 5,128 in 2002 to 11,141 last year.

From 2013 to 2014, the number of annual nursing graduations increased 6 percent, according to the report, which was released late last month.

"Clearly what you're looking at is efforts to produce more nurses and get them into the field because the need was so great," said Jean Moore, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies. "What we've been seeing is the demand for nurses now may not be as great as supply of nurses, so the new-nurse job market is becoming very competitive."

The trend of more nursing graduations has been consistent in New York and nationwide.

Recent years, however, have shown a shift in the data.

The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to nursing students has spiked over the past four years, from 4,913 in 2011 to 5,866 in 2014, according to the report.

Over that same time period, those earning two-year associate degrees dropped slightly from 5,398 to 5,263, marking the first time four-year nursing degrees outpaced two-year degrees.

Of the bachelor's degrees issued in New York last year, 2,135 went to "completers" — those who already hold a two-year degree and upgrade to a bachelor's in nursing.

"From what we've seen looking at nursing demand, it's quite likely that the associate degree nurses who are finding challenges in terms of getting a job might be the ones who are most incentivized to go on for their bachelor's," Moore said.

All regions of the state have seen an overall increase in the number of nursing graduations, though some have seen bigger spikes than others.

Over the past 10 years, annual nursing graduations in the Finger Lakes region — defined by the report as the Rochester area and surrounding counties — saw the greatest increase, a 132.5 percent spike from 575 nursing graduations in 2005 to a projected 1,337 this year.

In the Southern Tier, the graduations increased 50.1 percent, from 407 in 2005 to an estimated 611 this year.

And in the Hudson Valley, yearly nursing graduations increased from 908 a decade ago to 1,179 projected for 2015 — a 29.8 percent increase.



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