Welcoming Nursing’s Next Wave

Nursing enrollment and applications increase in response to pandemic
nursing students practice on a manikin

The global pandemic directed a spotlight on many important roles within the health care profession. From contact tracers to frontline nurses to emergency room doctors, COVID has pushed health care careers to the fore front, particularly nursing.

For those in health care higher education, the question is how that attention affects the plans of future college students. Does it ignite an interest in health care or upend prospective students’ best-laid plans?

The answer is taking focus with recent data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Nationally, enrollment is up 5.6% for baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral nursing programs. According to UMKC’s Joy Roberts, the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is seeing a similar trend – but doubled.

“We saw undergrad applications jump by ten percent,” said Roberts, interim dean. “These prospective students were seeing the agony in their communities, in cities, and they wanted to help.”

Further proof for Roberts is the attendance she’s seen at UMKC’s First Semester Experience classes that focus on nursing. The university offers various courses designed for new students to explore the various career paths available at UMKC. Nursing offered two dates of its class, Thrills, Chills and Eeewww! Adventures in Nursing. Both proved popular with new students.

“We’ve had standing room only at our sessions,” said Roberts. “A lot of times, the students had never even thought about it – never even thought about going into nursing – until it was suddenly forced in the public eye because of the pandemic.”

At the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, there are different academic paths to earning a nursing degree, as well as a degree in health sciences with minors in public health and exercise science.

Learn more about School of Nursing and Health Studies

Published: Dec 2, 2021

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