New Hampshire nursing programs see more applicants
It would be difficult to say that there has been a lot of good to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the field of nursing, however, there may be a positive: the pandemic has focused attention on nursing careers, and schools around the Granite State are seeing more people apply to become nurses.
“The pandemic has shined a light on how difficult the job [of a nurse] is,” said Pamela DiNapoli, executive director of the New Hampshire Nurses Association, a not-for-profit advocating for all nurses in the state. “I was thinking the younger population may not want to go into a job so difficult. But I have been pleasantly surprised that there is a real resurgence in the role.”
Since the early days of the pandemic, the sometimes unappreciated work that frontline nurses do has been brought to the forefront. The media converged on the subject when healthcare facilities were overrun due to the huge number of people affected by Covid descending on hospitals. The tireless and compassionate care by nurses gave the profession respect that was long overdue, as shown by the World Health Organization naming 2020 The Year of the Nurse.
In New Hampshire, that has led to a rise in the number of applications for nursing and related higher education programs. The increased interest is a welcomed trend with so many nurses burnt out from the continuous work during the pandemic and a need for new nurses in the Granite State and worldwide.
At Saint Anselm College in Manchester, 843 people had applied for the nursing program beginning in the fall of 2021, according to Steve Goetsch, vice president of enrollment. That is up from 799 applicants for 2020 and 796 for 2019.
“We would attribute the interest in the nursing program … to the pandemic, and the desire for students to serve their community by becoming a nurse,” Goetsch said. “And then, of course, when they start looking for a program, they learn about the success that our program has had over the most recent timeframe.”
At Colby-Sawyer College in New London the number of applications for the undergraduate nursing program has increased at a slightly slower clip: 355 this year compared to 342 last year, with two weeks left until the deadline. However, compared to this time last year, 34% more people have committed to the program by sending in their deposit, said Kevin Finn, dean of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, who was hired in mid-2020.
The school recently intensified its longstanding partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical system, which has been a contributing factor to increased interest in Colby-Sawyer’s nursing programs, Finn said.