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Record-Breaking Enrollment Reflects Growing Nursing Workforce Needs

  By Ivy Burruto
  Thursday, January 9, 2020

The School of Nursing began its fall 2019 academic year by welcoming a record-breaking class of 235 new students.

The most recent spike continues the substantial growth at the school where enrollment has increased more than 40 percent since 2016, from 529 to 742 students.

Total Enrollment Numbers

The timing of an enrollment bulge couldn’t be better since the demand for nurses in the workforce has never been higher.

Nursing is the largest health care profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses (RN) – three times the number of physicians. By 2026, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) predicts the creation of more than 200,000 new nursing positions.

Additionally, the New York State Department of Labor projects the need for RNs in the Finger Lakes region will rise by 18 percent to 15,660 by 2026. It also estimates an upsurge in the need for nurse practitioners with a projected growth of more than 38 percent.

“We want a state where the patients and families receive the best care possible. We take our mission to diversify the workforce seriously." School of Nursing Dean Kathy H. Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP.


In addition to educating the next generation of nurses, the School of Nursing is also committed to diversifying the workforce who will provide health care for tomorrow’s patients.

Admitting students holistically, employing faculty, researchers, and staff of diverse backgrounds, and providing community engagement opportunities not only contributes to an authentically diverse culture at the School of Nursing but advances knowledge on how cultural differences affect health care, including responses to medications, treatments, and interventions, as well as improving the quality of health care our immediate community receives.

“We want a state where the patients and families receive the best care possible. We take our mission to diversify the workforce seriously. We want to see more men in nursing, and individuals from underrepresented groups must be a more significant and valued part of our workforce. The students should reflect the population they will serve,” said School of Nursing Dean Kathy H. Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP.

The school’s commitment to diversity is reflected in its enrollment figures. More than 23.6 percent of students from the fall 2019 class were from underrepresented groups in nursing, and 21 percent of students were males, a figure two times the national average of men in the nursing workforce.

The school also has a global attraction; new students hold primary and secondary citizenship in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and across Europe.

In addition to growing the nursing workforce, the School of Nursing has within the past few years added significant scholarship and grant opportunities to support the academic journeys of existing nurses to address the ongoing demand for quality nursing education.

Among these programs are the Finger Lakes Regional Scholarship, School of Nursing Tuition Grant, and a new Patrick Lee Scholars Program.

The School of Nursing first established the Finger Lakes Regional Scholarship, which provides financial support as a 50 percent scholarship to students living or working in select counties enrolled in the school’s RN to BS program or its Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) program.

The SON Tuition Grant for UR employees covers the full cost of tuition of select bachelor’s and master’s programs. Launched in December 2018, the grant aims to strengthen the University of Rochester Medical Center workforce by spurring more nurses to pursue additional education to enhance their clinical practice, as well as prepare themselves for career advancement and positions of leadership.

As a result of its success over the previous year, this pilot program has been extended through summer 2021.

The newest tuition support opportunity is offered through the Patrick P. Lee Foundation. It’s intended for UR School of Nursing students living in select Western New York counties who are interested in enrolling in the FPMHNP program.

Find more information about applying and enrolling to the UR School of Nursing. 

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