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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a demand for 1.1 million new nurses over the next seven years to fill 575,000 new positions and replace 550,000 nurses who will retire by 2022. To meet growing demand for nurses nationwide and in the state of Indiana, Purdue University’s School of Nursing will expand undergraduate enrollment and plans to launch a new PhD in nursing program expected to open in fall 2017.

According to Jane Kirkpatrick, professor and head of the School of Nursing at Purdue, the shortage of nurses in the Midwest is particularly high. As a critical component of the health care system, doubling undergraduate nursing admissions from 100 to 200 students can make a big difference in meeting the state’s workforce needs in the field. In combination with enrollment expansion, the School of Nursing has also renovated its Center for Education and Simulation lab to accommodate the increase in students.

Purdue currently has a 100 percent job placement rate for nursing graduates, with 70 percent of those students being from Indiana. The increase in student enrollment is expected to take place over the next three years and will include the hiring of 30 additional new faculty members to meet state instructor to student ratio guidelines.

The School of Nursing is already accepting applications for the new PhD in nursing program. Designed to develop nurse scientists who can lead transdisciplinary teams to address complex challenges in health care, the new program will help meet the national goal to double the number of nurses who hold doctorates by 2020. Currently only one percent of all nurses hold PhD degrees with demand for nursing scientists, nurse executives, and nursing faculty far exceeding the supply.

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