A Check-Up on Black Progress in Nursing Degree Programs

Black NurseAccording to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in 2011 there were 111,417 students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in nursing in the United States. Of these, 15,860 were Black or African American. Thus, Blacks made up 10.3 percent of all undergraduate nursing students.

A decade ago, Blacks were only 8 percent of all bachelor’s degree candidates in nursing programs. By 2006, the percentage of Blacks had increased to 12.1 percent. But after the onset of the great recession, the percentage of Blacks has declined.

Black do better in master’s degree programs in nursing. In 2011, Blacks were 12.6 percent of the 56,075 students in nursing master’s degree programs. This is substantial progress from a decade ago, when Blacks were only 7 percent of the students in master’s degree programs in nursing. Unlike the data for bachelor’s degree programs, there was no reduction in Black enrollments in nursing master’s degree programs during the latest recession.

Blacks are also making tremendous progress in doctoral programs in nursing. In 2011 there were 478 Black students in doctoral degree programs in nursing. They made up 11.9 percent of all students in these degree programs. This is the highest level ever recorded. A decade ago, there were 215 Black students studying for a doctorate in nursing. They made up just 6.8 percent of all nursing doctoral students.

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