Will the shortage affect admissions???

Nursing Students General Students


Hi everyone.... I know this is a weird question, but I was discussing this with a few friends and none of us are sure if our conclusions are correct:

We all know that there is a shortage of nurses, and as far as I've heard, there certainly aren't as many students applying to nursing schools as there used to be. Will this shortage mean an easier time getting accepted into programs? Almost every schools website states that meeting the minimal requirements doesn't guarantee addmission because most applicants' credentials are well above the minimums... but if there really is a shortage, just how competitive do you really have to be to get accepted?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Specializes in Behavioral Health.

Hi there,

I really don't have an answer to that question. But I read an interesting article somewhere that one way they government is looking into easing the nursing shortage is to give extra funding to nursing programs so that they can hire more staff and thus take in more students each year. Of course, the government moves at a snail's pace most of the time, so I'll probably be done with school by then!

Best wishes,


This is something we have discussed in my classes as well.

We felt that nursing schools should remain being just as competitive for several reasons.

It schools were to have an "open door" policy, anyone would be allowed to study nursing. It might help the "shortage" but nursing as a profession needs much more than just warm bodies. They need quality students. With high standards for entering nursing programs, the profession assures that we get the "cream of the crop". Students who are smart, intuitive, and professionally minded, not just students who think it would be a nice thing to do, or have a glorified image of what being a nurse is like.

The more nurses there are, the less a hospital will have to increase salary. There are always going to be people who will do the same work, for less money, which hurts our financial situation as a whole. There are a lot of people in the general population that thing 15 dollars an hour is a high salary.

Its is a complex situation. Competition means that only the best students will continue on to be nurses, and it gives us a higher quality of nurses (people who care about learning, not just the money).

If you were a patient, would you prefer a nurse that you knew had to study hard, and be competetive to get to be where they are, or would you prefer a warm body who barely scraped by?

There are a lot of points to think about, and I have NO IDEA what a real solution would be.


I totally agree with you - I would (as a patient and as any part of the health care staff) certainly prefer to have a nurse who worked hard to get to his or her position... and would be disappointed if coasters got in with half the effort of the rest of us - but what about when it comes down to the difference between a 3.5 and a 3.7? This is the part that I'm personally interested in.

I'm applying to a BSN program that requires a 3.5 on a 5 scale. My GPA is only at 3.547 - which SHOULD be considered non-competitive, but with so few applicants, does this suddenly put me in the running when based soley on GPA?

***Please don't think I'm a coaster based on my grades - I've just made some poor decisions after high school and have had a hard time with the transition to taking difficult courses with a pretty competitive student body. I can place blame on no one but myself - but - I'm currently working hard as heck trying to bring my GPA up and doing well so far, just started working as a CNA and have lots of volunteer work to boot.

Please, let me know what you think.

We require a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, im not positive what a 5.0 scale is like.

I completely understand about making poor decisions. I chose to "party" my first semester of my freshman year, and lost my scholarships (i needed a 3.25 to keep them, and had a 3.0 instead, so i lost them.)

I am pretty against the policy of basing acceptance soley on GPA> for some people, no matter how much they know, and no matter how hard they study, they still cant ace tests. My best friend Amy studies with me for EVERY test, and she always knows the material better than I do, but when she sits down to take the test, she panics. I personally know that she is very knowledgable, a terrific student nurse, and cares about her patients deeply, she just cant handle test anxiety.

I believe personal references, school participation, GPA, attitude, and a personal interview are some of the best tools to use for acceptance, not GPA alone.

Good luck :) Its obvious to me, that you are intelligent, caring, and will make your best effort. The Program should see it that way too.



I agree with everything Brandy basically said. I think a fine line should be drawn somewhere but admissons should not be based soley on grades because a good nurse would be overlooked. I admit my GPA when I applied to a nursing school was only a 2.8 but as a single parent getting over the breakup of a fiance who was also my daughter's father who abused me I think that is pretty darn good. So far in nursing school though all my grades have been B's or better. So I do not think grades so be the primary factor of whether or not a nurse will get in. I hear nurses say it all the time they rather have a nurse who was not so book smart but did excellent work in clinicals then the book smart nurse who have no compassion, empathy and did not so good in clinicals. Push come to shove though if schools were to ever go to an open door or lower their requirements which I don't think will happen. Drop out rates will become higher in return.

Here are my feelings about academic requirements persuant to nursing school. Though I agree that GPAs aren't a total indicator of competance, they do reflect a great deal. Everyone knows that the judgement of your college performance will be made by those nasty little letter grades, and knowing that from the onset should be enough to cause a person to give it their all. If a student has difficulty achieving a 3.n (insert here your school's own GPA requirement) in the nursing prereq courses, but is then allowed to enter the nursing program anyway, how well is that student likely to perform? Lowering the entrance requirements would do a great disservice to unprepared students by allowing them to enter a difficult program, a course of study which is notoriously intense and rigorous, and is certainly academically challenging. Those students may have extreme difficulty grasping the deep and involved material presented in nursing courses. Will you then really be doing anyone a favor by admitting those students who have academic needs which should first be addressed, and then watching them struggle through nursing school and possibly fail their endeavor?

Now, that said, I do believe it's true that some people who may not perform very well on tests are going to make great nurses. I have a wonderful friend who matches this description perfectly. The problem is though, that when you take the NCLEX, what factors will that test assess? Will it look at how compassionate a person you are, or the degree of TLC with which you care for patients? If compassion and empathy were all it took to be a great nurse, most of us could leave this hell we call nursing school and just get on with the caring.

Oh, I just wanted to say this one last thing. Someone was talking about having nurses who are book smart vs nurse who are proficient in the clinical setting, but I have to say that since half of our nursing classes are clinicals, those students with high GPAs have obviously performed well in the clinical setting as well.

CRNA I see what you are saying. I am only talking about my experiences and what I have seen with the booksmart students I have seen 3 booksmart students not make it through clinicals and will not be returning to nursing school and I am not saying that is the case for everyone. I do think that if a person with a GPA below 3.0 in pre-req's apply to nursing school they should be given a chance. There may be certain circumstances in their life where their GPA suffered in the beginning but worked it out in the long run. I was pregnant with my daughter when I took a typing class and the doctor but me on bedrest my sixth month which was totally unexpected. I just graduated high school and this was june 97 and I graduated in May of 97 I took one class a typing class and the college told me I did not need an orientation since I was only going to take a typing class at the time. I eventually had to drop out of the typing class without knowing what the drop policies were to prevent a F on my transcript. I showed the school my doctors order they did not do anything about it. The F hurted me really bad. To make matters worse I suffered a bad breakup with my fiance and at the time that happend I was a full-time student in fall of 98 taking chemistry, anatomy, and algebra and I ended up with a 1.5 GPA by that time but after fall 98 from Spring 99 until Spring 00 when I applied to nursing school I made nothing but A's and B's and struggled to raise my GPA after a Rocky beginning but it would only get up to a 2.8 at the time of applying to nursing school. So again I say that those with a GPA under 3.0 should also be taken into consideration and if accepted realize that nursing school will be hard and they will have to be emotionally stable and very dedicated. I know as I am preparing to start my second semester my application could have been easily denied due to my GPA but I was given the benefit of the doubt and given a chance. My first few weeks of nursing school was not so good but by the end none of my nursing classe grades were lower than B's. I will end by saying I do believe grades are important and there are minimums that should be maintained to preserve the dignity of every profession. I know that there are some schools that I did not even apply to because I knew they were extremely competitive and I would probably not have stand a chance getting in and these were schools that would have costed $5,000.00 less a year then the school I am at now. I believe there are people out there who did average in pre-req's who were not as serious as there peers who made all A's or 3.0 or higher in pre-req's but by the time they came to nursing school did a complete turn around. I have so much more confidence now then ever before and know that from now on I will be able to get A's and B's and graduate from nursing school with some kind of honors.

Ok, what I'm about to say may seem extremely assanine, but please don't take it that way, because it isn't meant to be critical at all. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has things going on in their personal lives that make school hard to endure, and make it hard to acheive good grades. I understand what you were saying peaceful, and I'm not at all saying that you shouldn't have been allowed to enter your school's nursing program. I'm sorry that you had such a rough time starting out there, but it's not like there is no way to avoid having outside circumstances effect your GPA. Every school has printed materials which tell you what you have to do to avoid taking a failing grade in a class. They have drop deadlines published as well as the procedures for taking incompletes. Medical problems that arise during the semester should be handled in this way - by asking your instructor to give you an incomplete, rather than just withdrawing with an F. It is always our responsibility to know those procedures and such. Maybe your school made a bad recommendation to you by having you bypass orientation, but we all have to take the responsibility upon ourselves to know the correct guidelines, procedures, and consequences.

It's not as if you have only one shot at applying for nursing school either. If your GPA doesn't meet the requirements, take some other classes to bring it up, then apply again. Bringing up your GPA in that way will show that you can acheive what you need to do to succeed in nursing school. Everyone has reasons for why they got a low grade in this class, or why they didn't do as well as they could have in that class, but nursing programs have to have cut-offs. They have to be able to say, "you need to have this GPA for admission and that's that." Otherwise you're asking them to make unfair decisions about who gets admitted to the program and who doesn't. Suppose for example that you and another student had exactly the same GPA and all other requirements were equal as well. How can it be fair if the school says "OK, we're going to take you because even though your GPA was below entrance requirements, you had some things happening that made your life hard, but we're not going to take student #2 because as far as we can see, her life was just rosy and there's no excuse for her GPA." Do you see what I'm saying?

Again, please forgive me peaceful if I've offended you or seemed harsh. I certainly haven't meant to come off badly to you. May the Lord God richly bless your life.

I do not feel you were critical you were speaking the truth and the truth do not hurt and I am sorry if I came across as arrogant about my life or made it seem that I was offended because I was not. Yes I overcame difficult circumstances but anyone can easily change their life if they want it bad enough. I could have easily took more courses to boost my GPA and I didn't. My school when I applied to nursing school only requires a 2.5 GPA to get accepted, I think it is still that way but the majority of the students have GPA's well above 3.0. I was stupid not to find out the regulations of withdrawls and incompletes when I took my typing class, I did not know any better and did not realize the what serious damage leaving a class without and incomplete can do. So my 2.8 when I started nursing school was above my nursing school requirements not alot but a little and now it is at a 3.0 after my first semester of nursing school but it will get up to at least a 3.5 by the time I graduate nursing school because I know what I need to do. The community college I attended for pre-req's now gives orientation to everyone no matter what type of class they take. You are right everyone is responsible for their own education and it took an F in on my transcript which could have been prevented if I would have talked to the instructor instead of just not going back before I woke up and smelled the coffee. Also as far as unfair decisions I would never want a school to choose me over a student who had a much higher GPA then I did, that is totally unfair. If we were equal then they would have to choose by luck of the draw just putting name in hat and drawing to be totally fair I suppose. I met my school requirements. I may not be the highest ranking of the class but I have a complete new attitude in nursing school and I am 100% certain that I will be able to graduate with Cum Laude graduation honors that is at least a 3.5 GPA.

God bless,


I would like to comment on this! :specs:

I think it doesn't matter if you barely squeeze through, or make a 4.0 without breaking a sweat. My love of being in healthcare will make me be a great nurse. I have worked as a CMA, so I know I can do it. (Yes, I know nursing is harder.)

However, I think if I can't get into nursing school because I am a B student, I think that is extremely sad. In high school I got as close as .01 away from making honor roll, but was never extremely book smart. This doesn't mean I can't be a top nurse.

I just want the chance to prove myself worthy, and the chance to have someone remember the great care they received by Nurse MZachry!:nurse:

I would like to comment on this! :specs:

I think it doesn't matter if you barely squeeze through, or make a 4.0 without breaking a sweat. My love of being in healthcare will make me be a great nurse. I have worked as a CMA, so I know I can do it. (Yes, I know nursing is harder.)

However, I think if I can't get into nursing school because I am a B student, I think that is extremely sad. In high school I got as close as .01 away from making honor roll, but was never extremely book smart. This doesn't mean I can't be a top nurse.

I just want the chance to prove myself worthy, and the chance to have someone remember the great care they received by Nurse MZachry!:nurse:

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