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New report from national nursing organizations shows record-high number of RN grads

Ottawa, Thursday, November 8, 2012 — According to a new report from the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), the number of graduates of entry-to-practice registered nurse (RN) programs has risen steadily in the past decade. In 2011, there were 10,827 graduates, a 6.9 per cent increase from 2010 and a record high. Provincial and territorial governments must make sure there are sufficient full-time positions to employ new grads and meet the health-care needs of Canadians. The 2010-2011 Registered Nurses Education in Canada Statistics report also indicates that almost 40 per cent of permanent RN faculty members are 55 years of age or older, suggesting additional qualified faculty are needed if rising enrolment rates are maintained.

“The responsiveness and sustainability of our health-care system is dependent upon careful collaborative management of our health human resources,” said CNA president Barb Mildon. “To ensure investments in education translate into full-time employment and appropriate staffing of the health-care system, provincial and territorial governments, employers, and educational institutions must share information and evidence consistently and work on pan-Canadian strategies.”

The record number of RN graduates is good news for a health-care system trying to meet the growing and changing needs of Canada’s population. Working together, provincial and territorial governments, employers and education institutions can help new RNs realize their full professional potential in their preferred area of interest and geographic region. These groups are also best equipped to help new RNs make the most meaningful difference to the health-care system and Canadians.

The student and faculty survey indicated that nearly 40 per cent of permanent RN faculty members were over the age of 55 in 2011. Of those aged 60 or older, 17.8 per cent were eligible to retire. Schools reported challenges in recruiting full-time faculty due to a shortage of master’s and doctorally-prepared nurses seeking academic positions (54.4 per cent of survey respondents). Clémence Dallaire, CASN president, stressed that “it is important that enrollments in master’s and doctoral programs increase if we are to replace retiring faculty and sustain the numbers of new nursing graduates the population will need.”

Findings from the RN education report support the health human resources recommendations made by the provincial/territorial health-care innovation working group in its July 2012 report, From Innovation to Action. The working group recommended sharing evidence of workforce projections and training capacity and integrating planning across the jurisdictions to strive for an appropriate supply of health human resources.

Key 2010-2011 Registered Nurses Education in Canada Statistics findings:

  • In 2011, there were 10,827 graduates from RN entry-to-practice programs. This represents a 6.9 per cent increase from 2010 and a record high.
  • 15,370 students entered entry-to-practice programs in 2010-2011. This represents a decrease of 1.5 per cent from 2009-2010, the first dip in ten years.
  • Entry-to-practice baccalaureate programs were offered in every province and territory (in 81 per cent of the 111 nursing schools), except for the Yukon, where no nurse education programs exist.
  • Following a substantial drop in 2008, the number of students admitted to nurse practitioner (NP) programs rose in 2008-2009 and in 2009-2010. It remained stable in 2010-2011, with 465 students entering NP programs.
  • 7,554 RN faculty members were employed by schools of nursing in 2011. Only 30.7 per cent of those positions are permanent.
  • 38.3 per cent of permanent RN faculty in 2011 were over the age of 55.

Download 2010-2011 Registered Nurses Education in Canada Statistics [PDF, 632.7 KB].

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 146,788 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded not-for-profit health system.

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) is the national voice for nursing education, research, and scholarship and represents baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in Canada.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca

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