I think that a significant problem is the nature of nursing programs
in general combined with certain types of students, that make up a huge population of people who are interested in being a nurse. Many students interested in nursing are second career, older students who have families. In my personal experience, it has been really hard to work out the logistics in order to make it happen. Finding childcare at 5:30am is really hard for those who don't have family/spouse to help out, plus the limited absences (2) is unrealistic for mothers with children IMHO. I have tried to voice my opinion/ concerns to a few people (including a very passionate thread on this board), & have been met with the general attitude that "I did it with 5 kids two of which were still crawling, no spouse, & made straight A's the whole time; so shut the heck up & either accept it or get out" (this is an exageration people, but not by much). I have also found that either schools do not realize that information about potentialy problematic issues/policies for mothers is important for us to know beforehand, or they simply do not care.
I believe that schools have tried to combat the shortage by getting more students out in a shorter amount of time; however, they have not considered the idea that making it more accessible to non-traditional students would allow many more people to even apply. Being a mother is not the only hardship for non-trads, it is my problem, so that is why I use my situation as a example.
Being a student doesn't pay well, so many non-trads also must have a full-time job to pay the bills, since many of our parents are just beginning to enjoy life without children to feed. Job hrs are also very hard to negotiate, so when forced to choose between school hrs & job hrs, many have to choose their job in order to survive.
These are just my observations, I do not intend to offend anyone. I do believe it is a significant problem that could easily be fixed.
I also think that many programs spend too much time enhancing their "military like" technique in order to "weed out" weak students, rather than being an encouraging examples of the profession. How can one learn to be compassionate or empathetic while not being shown any?
Just my thoughts.