Is it moral for nursing schools to keep taking tuition if they canít place their

  1. 2
    The question was from The Ethicist column in this Sundayís New York Times (found at

    As you will see in the column (below), the question addressed law school, however, it is an equally valid question for nursing schools. While there is no doubt that nursing school enrollment has increased significantly, that seems to not necessarily be the case when it comes to job placement of new graduates.

    I frankly agree with the response however, I believe that nursing schools have a responsibility to make their placement statistics clear to entering students. This should be especially true for those high cost program, many of which are offered through the new, for-profit colleges. In my limited experience, it seems that many nursing schools equivocate on the question of jobs for new grads and some simply refuse to address the question.

    November 30, 2012

    So Sue Me

    by Chuck Klosterman

    Iím applying to law school. Iím sure there are many schools that could provide me with a decent education; Iím less confident that a degree from some institutions will get me a job. In fact, some schools, while charging outrageously high tuition, place fewer than half of their recent graduates in long-term, full-time legal positions. Is it moral for schools like these to keep enrolling students and collecting tuition dollars knowing that their product is a risky (or outright bad) investment?

    Youíre looking at this problem through a peculiar lens. Youíre philosophically positioning law schools as extensions of the service economy: you believe they are promising a symbiotic exchange for both parties, where your investment of time and tuition will be mechanically rewarded with a job you desire (and if that doesnít happen, the school is acting in bad faith). Your argument also infers a somewhat sinister self-awareness from the schools themselves ó it suggests that they know their graduates will be uncompetitive but pretend otherwise to coerce new students into overpayment.

    If your query were simply ďIs all college tuition in America unreasonably expensive?Ē my answer might be different. But your particular question is performance-based; you want to know if itís unethical for colleges whose students are less successful in the job market to demand the same unreasonable tuition as the ones whose graduates perform well. And itís not unethical ó itís just fiscally unfortunate. Obviously, the best thing any law school could do for its reputation is graduate people who become successful. These schools are motivated to do so; if they continually fail at that goal, they will not attract the best applicants, and the failure will perpetuate itself. But their principal ethical responsibility is to educate law students to the best of that institutionís ability, which isnít inherently tied to how easily those graduates become gainfully employed. That responsibility is mostly yours.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 4, '12
    Susie2310 and Esme12 like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 53 Comments...

  3. 25
    Maybe this isn't the most well reasoned and researched response, but I feel like so many people are looking for ways to be a victim. Take the time to research your program before applying or accepting your spot. Perhaps it is the responsibility of the school to announce how successful they are at turning out marketable graduates, but I think it is MORE the student's responsibility to make sure they are not wasting their time and money. Find grads of that program and talk to them. Talk to the hospital and doctors offices local to that school. Research, research, research! You CHOOSE where your money goes. Choose wisely.
    sharpeimom, KbmRN, LibraSunCNM, and 22 others like this.
  4. 13
    I've never seen a school promise a job placement upon graduation. I've seen schools talk about resources available to graduating seniors and alumni, but it was always clear that the responsibility of getting a job was mine and mine alone. Even the student loan paperwork for federal loans talks about how you have to pay back the loan regardless of whether you're satisfied with the education or not.

    That said, programs that only talk about a nursing shortage without mentioning that it's tough to find a job as a new grad ARE being unethical. Yes, a student has a responsibility in choosing a school and educational path, but promoting blatantly false information is majorly dishonest. An academic institution should be expected to be honest.
    kimbap, KbmRN, Kandy83, and 10 others like this.
  5. 11
    Should placement statistics be available? Definitely.

    Is it the school's responsibility to find me a job after they educate me? Definitely not. Finding a job is my responsibility. I've never been under a misconception that a school owes employment to its graduates. Not when I graduated and not when my children graduated from their universities in a terrible economy and couldn't find jobs, which left me paying the student loans for a while.

    There is only so much blame that individuals can lay on others. Some things we just have to suck up and move on.
    KbmRN, GrnTea, Susie2310, and 8 others like this.
  6. 22
    I know a guy who will cry to you all of the woes of possessing a 4 year degree and being jobless. He's 30-something, living with parents, and can't get anything better than minimum wage stuff. "College is a scam!" he'll cry. "We were told we'd have jobs when we graduate!" Boy is he all about the occupy protests, posting stuff on Facebook about how victimized he is.

    Did I mention his bachelor's degree was in philosophy?
    emcadams, KbmRN, rita359, and 19 others like this.
  7. 2
    Some great points were made. Schools that claim they will help your in finding a job may even be quite a stretch. I'd want to know, "How many of your graduating class are actually working as nurses?" How many of your last four graduated classes did you actually help in procuring a position? What did you do with the student and how did you do it? My point is, I'd ask the tough questions.

    But schools are businesses, and it is incumbent upon each prospective student to do his/her research. Generally, as market changes occur in the negativie, student enrollment in a particular area drops. As expected, when enrollment drops, admission requirements drop--at least to some degree; thus making entrance into a school and program, generally easier. The latter shows in part that schools functions as businesses.

    The trouble is that people are going into nursing as some kind of "fail safe" career. There are a number of pockets that want more nurses, but I would be reticent to work those areas unless working as a traveller with a decent contract. There are a number of areas any of Florida that can be used as a good example. There are some exceptions, but the hospitals there are often not viewed as good as the ones up in the north or other parts of the country. (This has been stated by patients, physicians, nurses, you name it.)
    The pay is awful compared to the north, many parts of the mid-west, and the west coast. I think you really have to do your research before you work down there. It still may be beneficial to pursue work down there, but I think you'd have to cull through a lot in comparison with the COL and other factors.

    So as in alll things, the individual really has to do his/her research and then make their own benefit:loss analysis.

    You also have to decide which educational route you want to go for education if you do choose nursing. Both my school nursing programs were excellent. I decided on a much more expensive, private school later, b/c of my future plans. If it weren't for those plans, I would have found a school that was considerably less. I still would have been picky, just as I was for my first school, as a 20 year old. I wanted to know all the details and NCLEX pass rate, etc--even back then, when people were throwing jobs at nurses. I met with the dean, now retired, who was awesome, and not just b/c you received her doctoral degree from an highly respected, ivy league school. No nurse should go through as shaby nursing program; but some people really don't do a proper vetting process--or the think "cheap, cheap, cheap," and don't realize they are losing out. And why necessarily nursing? Many OR tech positions make as much as some nurses. If you are just concerned with having a "reliable" job with decent pay, why not go through a tech program? Problem is, people don't really see nursing as an art and a science. So you wonder why these folks don't just become techs. IDK.

    Everyone has to go through the vetting process and then make their decisions to the best of their ability.
    Esme12 and Meriwhen like this.
  8. 4
    Here is a generation change.
    Higher education once got you a whole lot more in the job market and you paid a lot less then for it.
    The market is more competitive now.
    As a result, people have to take a closer look at return on investment.
    kimbap, SHGR, Guttercat, and 1 other like this.
  9. 3
    A point to be made is that with a law degree, you still can find your way into many "other" occupations. With a nursing degree you are screwed if you don't work as a nurse - it's a junk degree.
  10. 5
    Colleges and Universities for the most part, are not "businesses". They are institutes of higher learning. (Yes there are for-profit schools out there that operate more like businesses, but they are not the most common.) They don't "owe" students anything. You earn a degree by working hard and paying tuition. The only thing they promise is the opportunity for an education.

    Universities are not trade schools either. There is value in a degree beyond the major. I think too many have lost site of this. You learn to think, you learn to research, and to critically read things. You are exposed to schools of thought and ideas you might not otherwise have seen or heard.

    People used to go to college as much for the joy of learning as any other reason. Now they go to find a job. It's very sad.
    llg, KelRN215, NRSKarenRN, and 2 others like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from ixchel
    I know a guy who will cry to you all of the woes of possessing a 4 year degree and being jobless. He's 30-something, living with parents, and can't get anything better than minimum wage stuff. "College is a scam!" he'll cry. "We were told we'd have jobs when we graduate!" Boy is he all about the occupy protests, posting stuff on Facebook about how victimized he is.

    Did I mention his bachelor's degree was in philosophy?
    So in other words, he got a degree just to get a degree...
    Your buddy might want to look into a mirror the next time he's about to blame college for his life. I don't mean to put your friend down, but by the tone of your post, you've already told him this. Probably more than once.
    CP2013 likes this.

Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors