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Rounds with Leadership: Following the Data

Published October 27, 2021

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

October 27, 2021 - Following the Data

Since 1978, AACN’s Research and Data Services Department has served as the nation’s primary source of data on baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. The data we collect on enrollment and graduations has been instrumental in understanding workforce trends, establishing health policy, advocating for funding, and promoting public support for professional nursing programs.

In addition to the data collected in our annual survey of baccalaureate and graduate programs, AACN conducts additional surveys each year on critical issues in academic nursing. These efforts include:

Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions for Academic Year 2021-2022: Data from this survey is critical to understanding the ongoing shortage of nurse faculty and reasons for the shortfall. The latest data show a current full-time faculty vacancy rate of 8%, which represents the highest percentage since 2013. With the highest vacancy rate recorded by schools in the West (9%), most open positions either require (49.6%) or prefer (34.8%) candidates with a doctoral degree. Responding schools cite noncompetitive salaries (62.7%), finding faculty with the right specialty mix (62.0%), and the limited pool of doctorally prepared faculty (49.5%) as top recruitment issues.

2021 Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses: Now in its 12th year, this annual survey was developed to assess the experience of new graduates in finding employment and employer preferences for new hires. Regarding job prospects, the employment rate at graduation was 76% and 75% for entry-level BSN and master’s students, respectively. At 4-6 months post-graduation, employment rates rose to 93% and 94%, respectively. In addition, surveyed schools were asked if employers in their area were requiring or strongly preferring new hires with baccalaureate degrees. Findings indicate that 40.6% of employers require the BSN for new hires while 77.4% strongly prefer BSN-prepared nurses.

AACN is committed to serving as the authoritative source of information on academic nursing, and we use the data collected to advocate on your behalf.  We cannot achieve this goal without our member schools who have consistently responded in very high numbers to our annual data collection efforts.  We encourage all schools to complete the Fall 2021 annual survey by October 29 to ensure that your programs are represented in this year’s results.

To learn more about AACN’s data and research efforts – including our Data Spotlights on distance education, under-represented student populations, trends by institution type, and CNS programs – click here.