Earlier this week, new data surfaced that brought the nursing profession into the spotlight.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) released a report on Tuesday that suggested more nurses are electing to advance their education this year. Educational nursing programs, as a result, have seen a steady amount of growth across the board.

We've discussed on the GU blog before how nursing is expected to grow faster than any other profession between 2010-2020, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

To propel themselves ahead of the curve by the end of the decade, many nursing professionals are furthering their education. Many of them, in an effort to enhance flexibility in their schedules and keep their full-time jobs in the process, are enrolling in online nursing programs.

Here are three interesting statistics from the AACN report that reflect the steady growth in the nursing profession for 2012:

1. Enrollment in all types of nursing programs increased from 2011 to 2012.

The report cited a 3.5% increase in entry-level Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. AACN also found a strong hiring preference for new nurses who are prepared at the baccalaureate level.

2. The number of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree completion programs - RN to BSN programs - increased by 22.2% from 2011 to 2012.

The AACN report said 2012 represented the 10th year of enrollment increases for RN to BSN programs, which signals a growing interest from employers for baccalaureate-ready nurses.

"It seems that hospitals and health care facilities are recognizing the merit of the BSN-prepared nurse related to quality care and safety, and are striving to increase their BSN nursing staff with the help of the educational programs being offered around the country," Grantham University Dean of Nursing Susan Fairchild said of the findings.

For reference, GU has been a member of the AACN since 2010.

3. Nursing schools with master's programs reported an 8.2% increase in enrollments.

Better pay, a better opportunity for a promotion and establishing a managerial pedigree are a few reasons why pursuing a master's in nursing is well worth the investment.

Nurses around the country are recognizing the best way to advance in their careers: further their education.

What do you think of these findings? Let us know in the comments section below.

Are you interested in advancing your nursing career? Learn about enrolling in online nursing programs, which enable students to further their education AND keep their full-time job, by visiting our School of Nursing page.


About the author: Eric Sorrentino joined Grantham University as Social Media Manager in October 2011. Prior to that, he blogged about Big 12 Conference athletics for KUsports.com and was a sports copy editor for the Lawrence Journal-World. Eric received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.