Long Waits to Start Nursing School

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Long Waits to Start Nursing School

Community colleges turn away thousands of applicants

By Working Nurse
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Despite California’s worst-in-the-nation nurse-to-patient ratios, the state’s community college nursing programs still turn away thousands of applicants each year. A recently extended legislative measure may mean even longer waits for some candidates.

Promoting Diversity

Back in 2007, California legislators confronted several major problems with the state’s overcrowded community college nursing programs, including a lack of diversity and high attrition rates. A.B. 1559 attempted to address both problems by authorizing community colleges to use a new multicriteria screening process when faced with more applicants than open slots.

The multicriteria formula considers both academic qualifications and other factors, including relevant work experience, language skills and even personal circumstances such as being the first in one’s family to attend college. The idea was to promote diversity while increasing the likelihood that any candidate admitted to a nursing program would complete it. The multicriteria standards are optional. Community colleges can also use random lotteries instead of or in addition to the multicriteria screening.

Not Enough Resources

Most of the community colleges that have adopted the multicritera screening standards already had lengthy waiting lists for their nursing programs — some as long as six years.

Some programs have dropped their waiting lists and now require applicants to reapply under the new criteria each semester. Other programs admit some wait-listed applicants and some multicritera candidates each semester. However, the total number of available spaces has not increased

As a result, unless the state makes more resources available for community colleges to expand their nursing programs, hire more faculty and add more training sites, the wait to enter those programs will continue to get longer.   

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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