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UAlbany Report: Continued Growth of New RNs in the State, but Admissions are Beginning to Level Off

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Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Nurse tending to patient

Despite the fact that nursing deans report a strong job market for their graduates, there is some evidence that the current economic downturn has resulted in a much more competitive job market for newly-trained RNs.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 1, 2009) -- Registered nursing (RN) graduations continue to rise in New York State, but many programs report no growth in program admissions, according to an annual report released by the University at Albany School of Public Health's Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS).

Despite the fact that nursing deans report a strong job market for their graduates, there is some evidence that the current economic downturn has resulted in a much more competitive job market for newly-trained RNs. This is attributed to slower job growth in health care and less RN turnover, resulting in fewer RN job openings. A 2008 sample survey of downstate hospital nurse recruiters found an increase in the number of experienced RNs applying for available positions.

"Current economic conditions may result in a temporary easing of RN shortages in the state,” said Center Director Jean Moore. “Since health sector employment is a vital component of New York’s economy, economic recovery will likely result in a return to health sector job growth and the potential for worsening RN shortages.” 

The survey of registered nursing education programs in New York is conducted annually by the Center to better understand the RN educational pipeline. The most recent survey for the 2007 academic year was conducted in the spring and fall of 2008.

According to the report, New York Registered Nursing Graduations, 1996-2009, the number of RN graduates in New York increased by five percent in 2007 over the previous year. This marked the fifth consecutive year that RN graduations have increased, following six successive years of declines. Additionally, RN graduations are expected to continue to rise in 2008 and 2009, with 2009 total graduations projected to be 24 percent higher than graduations in 1996, the previous high point for RN graduations in New York.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • All regions in New York are projected to experience significant increases in RN graduations between 2002 and 2009, ranging from 24 percent in Central New York region to nearly tripling in the Long Island region.
  • Two other regions, the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, are projected to more than double their graduations between 2002 and 2009.
  • RN graduations in New York are expected to be nearly 74 percent
    higher in 2008 almost 88 percent higher in 2009 compared to graduations in 2002.
  • Fewer nursing education programs reported turning away qualified applicants in 2007, compared to 2006;
  • The primary reason nursing education projects reported turning away qualified applicants was a limit on program admissions.
  • Other reasons for turning away qualified applicants included lack of clinical training sites and lack of qualified faculty.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

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