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Educational mobility of RNs in North Carolina: who will teach tomorrow's nurses? A report on the first study to longitudinally examine educational mobility among nurses

Educational mobility of RNs in North Carolina: who will teach tomorrow's nurses? A report on the first study to longitudinally examine educational mobility among nurses

American Journal of Nursing 107(5): 60-70; Quiz 71

Affected by the current nursing shortage, schools of nursing cite a lack of qualified nursing faculty as a primary barrier to program expansion. We sought to identify patterns in how nurses' entry-level degrees and other individual characteristics correlated with the timing and achievement of subsequent advanced nursing education. Using longitudinal analysis of data gathered as part of North Carolina's licensing renewal process, we studied the educational mobility of newly graduated RNs with a variety of entry degrees in this state. We followed one cohort of 3,384 new graduates who were licensed in 1984 (2,850 remained active and in the study at the 10-year point, and 2,418 remained active and in the study at the 20-year point) and another cohort of 5,341 new graduates who were licensed in 1994 (4,211 remained active and in the study at 10 years). Demographic data for a third cohort of 5,400 new graduates who were licensed in 2004 were included and considered along with data gathered by the National League for Nursing for nursing education research, to assist us in making comparisons between North Carolina and other states. Only 26% of the 2,418 members of the 1983-84 cohort at 20 years and 17% of the 4,211 members of the 1993-94 cohort at 10 years pursued higher degrees, and just 19% and 12% of the respective cohorts did so in nursing. More than 80% of all nurses in either cohort who attained a master's degree in nursing or a doctorate in any field began their nursing career with a bachelor's degree. Younger age at entry into nursing, male sex, and belonging to a racial or ethnic minority were associated with being more likely to pursue higher academic degrees. Based on our findings, we suggest that increasing the number of graduates with a bachelor of science in nursing degree, especially those who are men or members of a racial or ethnic minority, will have the most immediate effect on increasing the potential nursing faculty pool.

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Accession: 052783953

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PMID: 17443081

DOI: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000268172.71477.99

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