Nursing remains popular option

1 March 2010

Increased interest in nursing appears to have continued this year with nursing schools reporting bulging programmes and waiting lists.

Nursing schools have reported an upswing in interest for several years, particularly from school leavers and new migrants. Last year’s recession appeared to increase that interest further and it remains high in 2010.

Deb Spence, joint head of AUT’s nursing school, said it had a huge number of applications and was oversubscribed four times over for its first semester intake and semester two was also rapidly filling.

The competition meant it guaranteed places to the top 70 per cent of applicants with the remaining 30 per cent allocated after students completed the first generic semester of AUT’s health sciences degree. Students who missed the cut had the option of carrying on the health sciences degree in another specialty or applying for the second semester intake.

Spence said limited clinical spaces meant AUT had to be “pretty cut-throat” at the end of the first year and only the top 120 of the 140 were accepted for second year.“They’ve got a year to really prove themselves and it’s becoming increasingly competitive to actually stay in the programme”. She said international students places were limited to about 10 per intake.

Waikato Institute of Technology had “huge interest” in enrolments prompting it to increase its intake this year, said undergraduate nursing programme manager Glennis Birks. This year’s February intake was 186 compared to 160 last year and enrolments were already steadily coming in for its July programme, Birks said.

She said the recession might have had an impact but the upsurge was also due to publicity about nursing and the availability of jobs. The intake was its largest for some time and about 12 per cent were international students from India and the Philippines.

Lisa McKay said interest was as good or better for places on Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology’s programme with about 150 on a waiting list for the 110 places in the February intake.

Susan Jacob, dean of EIT’s health and sport science faculty said numbers were strong and it had had a waiting list but some had opted to defer instead until the July intake which was already attracting “very strong interest”.

Debbie Penlington of MIT’s nursing school said interest was up on last year and it had taken on slightly more students for 2010.