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The Growth and Performance of Nursing Programs by Ownership Status

      Introduction

      Since 2002, there has been dramatic growth in the number of registered nurse (RN) graduates from nursing programs in all types of institutional settings, with the largest increases in the for-profit sector.

      Aim

      To document trends in the growth of nursing programs and to compare their outcomes, as measured in first-time NCLEX® pass rates, by ownership type and degree, including bachelor of science in nursing, associate degree in nursing, and practical nurse.

      Methods

      We used 10 years of data (2007-2016) from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to track the number of programs and graduates by ownership type. We obtained 5 years of data (2011-2015) from state boards of nursing on first-time NCLEX pass rates by degree. We constructed a multivariate regression model with pass rates as the dependent variable and school ownership status as the independent variable. Covariates included a broad range of institution-level covariates obtained from IPEDS and county-level data on poverty obtained from the Area Health Resource File.

      Results

      From 2007-2016, there was a five-fold increase in the total number of for-profit nursing programs and a 14-fold increase in the number of graduates of for-profit nursing programs. Graduates of public nursing programs declined as a percentage of total graduates, whereas for-profit programs’ share grew from 1.7% to 14.2 %. After controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors, for-profit ownership was a significant predictor of lower NCLEX pass rates for all three degree programs.

      Conclusions

      Additional research is needed to understand why ownership status affects performance, but it is incumbent upon nursing leaders to review federal, state, and accreditation oversight to ensure minimum performance standards for all nursing programs.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      Patricia Pittman, PhD, is a Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

      Biography

      Emily Bass, BA, is a Research Associate, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

      Biography

      Xinxin Han, MS, is a Research Assistant, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

      Biography

      Ellen Kurtzman, PhD, is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, George Washington University.

      Linked Article

      • Conflict of Interest Compliance Article 4
        Journal of Nursing Regulation Vol. 12Issue 2
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          As is standard in scholarly publishing, NCSBN’s Journal of Nursing Regulation (JNR) requires its authors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest (COI). Although COI information has always been collected by our staff in order to support editors’ review of the paper, it was not our standard practice to publish COI statements in each article. In this issue, JNR is retrospectively publishing the COI statements, which were collected with the below papers at submission, in order to make potential COI’s transparent to readers, as well as editors.
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