Recent Changes in the Number of Nurses Graduating from Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

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Executive Summary▸ Since the 1970s, a number of initiatives have attempted to increase the proportion of nursing graduates with a baccalaureate degree, but with little national effect.▸ Now market forces, health reforms, and an Institute of Medicine report (2011) have combined to transform the educational composition of the nursing workforce.▸ Today, there are considerably more graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs than associate degree programs.▸ The educational transformation of the nursing workforce is not limited to baccalaureate education but includes the rapidly increasing numbers of registered nurses who have earned graduate degrees.▸ These changes in nursing education are increasing the readiness of nursing professionals to capitalize on new opportunities, overcome challenges, and take on new roles and responsibilities as the nation's health care delivery and payments systems evolve in coming years.

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