Downfall in Student Nurse applications up to 8% following Pandemic

The downfall in student nurse applications up to 8% has been recorded for the undergraduate nursing courses in the United Kingdom and some other countries differently since the last pandemic year as the data speaks. 

According to the data revealed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), 52,150 students applied for the nursing programs in 2022 compared to the number of applicants 56,630 in 2021.

However, figures reveal that the number of applications interested in Nursing programs is continuously increasing with time. Figures show that the number of applications is still above the pre-pandemic levels, almost 10% compared to the applications received in 2020. 

Nursing leaders are showing concern over the decline in the number of applications. They have urged the relevant authorities and universities to offer scholarships and other facilities to attract student nurses. 

Pat Cullen (RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive) said, “This is further evidence this week that things are heading in the wrong direction.

“An 8% drop in applications to nursing courses across the UK is a real cause for concern amid a workforce crisis compromising safe patient care.”

Furthermore, data shows that mature students have been reluctant to apply to nursing courses, with a 13% decrease compared to last year. This data shows applications from the student nurses above the age of 21.

However, for the 18 and 19-year-old nursing applicants, there has been a steady increase over the years that is increasing at the rate 0f 30% every year since 2019. 

Ms. Cullen said: “With the most significant drop in mature student applications, financial pressures are at play, and the prospect of taking on more debt when inflation is soaring is a bridge too far.

“Stronger interest from 18-year-olds is a testament to nursing staff inspiring the next generation, but the profession is hugely diverse and relies on attracting people of all ages and all walks of life, often as a second career.”

Student Nurses Applications – Gender Comparison

The downfall in student nurse applications differs on the basis of gender as well. While making gender comparisons for the nursing applications, there has been a 9% decrease in female applicants compared to 2021. Meanwhile, it increased by 8% compared to the year 2020. 

On the other hand, there has been a 53% increase in male applicants during the last 4-years. In 2022, 6,570 male applicants increased more than the previous year.   

Compared to 2021, the number of applicants for nursing courses offered in England declined by 6%, while it climbed by 14% compared to 2020.

There were 4% more applicants in Scotland’s providers in 2020 than there were in 2020, a 12 % reduction from 2021.

Providers in Wales saw a 12 percent fall in applicants, a similar percentage drop to Scotland’s, although this was still a 17 percent increase from 2020.

Last but not least, the number of applicants for Northern Ireland’s providers increased by 19% over 2020 and decreased by 7% over 2021.

A similar decrease in the number of student nurse applicants has been noted in the European Union (EU). Also, during the Pandemic, many nursing professionals and midwives left the profession.

So to cover the downfall in student nurse applications requires immediate attention of the nursing leaders, nursing community, governments and the colleges or universities offering nursing programs.

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