Our nation’s population is aging and the nursing workforce is retiring. The disparity between the need for nurses and individuals who are ready to assume those roles continues to grow daily. And yet, in communities across the country, nursing programs have been forced to reject student applications amid this dramatic nursing shortage.
For many colleges and universities, the inability to find qualified clinical sites and experienced nursing faculty has left them unable to accept students into their programs. In some states, the required student to faculty ratio in patient care settings has changed from ten, to eight, and in some states, six students per individual faculty member. This change has caused some programs to downsize the number of nursing students they accept.
Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa was founded in 1899 as a nursing training school and has been at the forefront of innovating nursing education ever since. While many colleges and universities are unable to accommodate these evolving requirements, the unique affiliation between Mercy College of Health Sciences, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, and Mercy Health Network reduces barriers for clinical rotations and provides access to qualified faculty.
“We have the ability to accept more students to help combat the growing nursing shortage,” said Dr. Nancy Kertz, Dean of the School of Nursing. “Our unique health care partners enable us to recruit expert faculty and provide clinical rotations in a variety of urban and rural settings.
Iowa is no exception to the nursing workforce shortage. The Labor Market Information Division of the Iowa Workforce Development notes that by the end of the second quarter of 2016, health care and social assistance as a sector averaged 219,703 jobs. This accounts for 14.3 percent of all public and private jobs, the largest employment sector in Iowa. They estimate between 2014 and 2024 registered nurses have a projected growth rate of 16.3 percent, nearly double the statewide average. The Iowa Workforce Development projects annually, there will be 525 new registered nurses needed and an additional 755 job openings that will need to be filled.
According to the Iowa Board of Nursing, 21% of Registered Nurses are eligible to retire and 44% are 50 years of age or older. The Iowa Board of Nursing has maintained the requirement of an eight to one student to faculty ratio for the state of Iowa.
“We must move quickly to address this growing nursing shortage. We are creatively expanding how we educate future nurses through flexible courses ranging from night and weekend options to online. Our goal is to ensure students obtain the necessary competencies to enter the workforce quickly with the critical skills to address the nursing demand,” said Dr. Kertz.
Mercy College offers 5 Pathways to Become a Nurse:
Accelerated 12-month BSN program
3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program
Evening and Weekend Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program
Online RN to BSN with $2,500 Completion Bonus
Paramedic to BSN Bridge Program
Mercy College complies with the authorization requirements as a participant under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). This agreement enables students from other states to complete online education courses at Mercy College regardless of where they are located.
Mercy College offers generous credit transfers, affordable tuition, and flexible scheduling so that students can enter their nursing career quickly or remain working while they advance their career.