One silver lining to the COVID cloud may be a growing interest in nursing. The University of Mary Washington reported nearly double the number of applicants for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Radford said its accelerated program saw an increase, and UVA said nursing applications were up more than 50%.
UVA doesn’t recruit for its bachelor’s in nursing. Assistant Dean for Admissions Austin Stajduhar says it’s easy to fill the 75 spots each fall.
“But this year we did see a pretty significant uptick in applications. Last year we had just over 1,200 applicants and this year it went up to 1,900.”
Based on the essays students wrote, it was clear the COVID pandemic stoked a desire to help, and Professor Beth Epstein says the job market for nurses remains strong:
"There is a national nursing shortage, and that will be the case for years to come, so this is just the right time to be going into nursing. Graduates don’t have any difficulty finding positions."
Demand is driven in part by the large population of aging baby boomers and by a relatively high turnover in the ranks of a demanding profession.