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Nov. 3, 2008
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
ward.mullens@emich.edu 734.487.4400

EMU School of Nursing injects much needed help into nursing shortage

YPSILANTI — The nursing shortage in Michigan and the country has become critical.

A recent report to the Michigan House Health Policy Committee states that Michigan’s demand for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to exceed supply by 7,000 nurses in 2010. There will be a shortage of 18,000 nurses by 2015, according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

Eastern Michigan University’s School of Nursing is expanding its programs to provide some much needed help to ease the situation.

“I applaud our nursing faculty for increasing opportunities for an additional 102 students in 2009. The recent 94-percent pass rate performance on the NCLEX exam shows we have an excellent program,” said EMU President Susan Martin.

“With the support of President Susan Martin, the provost and faculty, in 2009 we are increasing our pre-licensure placements from 80 to 112; that’s a 40-percent increase,” said Betty Beard, interim director of the EMU School of Nursing. “We also are increasing the number of students in our RN-to-BSN program from 58 to 128 students. That’s 140 percent! We’re going full speed ahead!”

The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is a four-year degree program focused on preparing pre-licensure students to become registered nurses, while the BSN completion program helps those with an associate’s degree in nursing obtain their bachelor’s degree. 

Recent research shows that hospitals using more BSN-prepared nurses have fewer patient complications and decreased mortality rates.  Since patients have much more complex health needs than in the past, it is imperative that they be well prepared educationally. 

Beard said the commitment from faculty and the administration to find resources to support the increases will mean additional opportunities for students who want to go into nursing.

In 2008, EMU’s program alone turned away many qualified students. According to Beard, there are more than 500 current EMU students who have expressed intent to be nursing majors.

“Most programs talk about whether or not their students will have jobs when they graduate. In nursing, we know that it’s not if they will get a job, but what job offer they will take,” Beard said.

 “It’s not just about quantity, though,” Beard said. “It’s about quality as well. One of the quality indicators of any nursing program is the pass rate of students on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).”

“Our percentage of students who passed the exam on the first try was 94.2 percent from October 2007 to October 2008. The average for Michigan nursing programs was 87 to 88 percent,” said Beard.

There’s even more encouraging news for Michigan and its ailing economy. More than 90 percent of the students who go through the EMU nursing program stay in Michigan, Beard said.

 “EMU and the School of Nursing are committed to educating a workforce that will improve the quality of health care in Michigan. We are also committed to providing a quality nursing education for men and women who will be employed in worthwhile careers in the profession of nursing,” Beard said.

For additional information on the nursing programs at EMU, go to http://www.emich.edu/nursing/

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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