Top North Dakota Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has warned of a looming nationwide nursing shortage. Indeed, the projected growth in the sector is 19%, without taking into consideration how many of the current workforce will be leaving. As a result, the North Dakota Board of Nursing commissioned a report to better understand the issues that are faced in the state, and how these can best be addressed.
From this report, it was demonstrated that it is most difficult to recruit Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). APN positions in rural areas are the hardest to fill of all. There are 56 medically underserved areas in North Dakota, affecting 34.56% of the population, so this is a significant issue. This is particularly true considering just 7.5% of the current nursing workforce is an APN.
The second issue is around salary, as these are not consistent with education. Indeed, registered nurses (RNs) with an associate’s degree often earned more than those with a bachelor’s degree. The best salaries are enjoyed in the urban areas, and the worst in the northwest of the state. The average annual salary for an RN in North Dakota currently stands at $59,000, below the national average.
Next, there is the problem with staff. Demand for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) is 6%, which is an improvement on past statistics. For RNs, the rate is 4%, which is again decreasing. The turnover rate for LPNs is also improving, down to 22%. However, it is increasing for RNs, having gone up to 30%.
One particular initiative that sets North Dakota apart from other states, however, is that they allow nurses to take part in the decision making process. More and more facilities, including nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and HSCs are reporting that nurses are heavily involved in decision making. Those with the highest levels of education are also the most involved in this process.
There is a strong focus on increasing the number of Nurse Educators in the state as well. There are just four schools that are registered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and they are significantly understaffed, with much of their workforce approaching or having surpassed retirement age. As a result, despite strong demand for nurses, some 422 qualified students had to be refused entry in colleges and universities. This is a particular problem that must be addressed if North Dakota is serious about counteracting its nursing shortage.