Freshman Class of 100 Pre-Nursing Students Largest Ever at Baylor

News Photo 1570
Dr. Carole Hanks (left) with Baylor pre-nursing freshmen.
Sept. 30, 2003

by Judy Long

In the face of a nationwide shortage of nurses, Baylor University reported its largest-ever class of pre-nursing freshmen with 100 students declaring pre-nursing as their major this fall.

Pre-nursing students attend classes on Baylor's Waco campus for two years before transferring to the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas for their junior and senior nursing classes. Acceptance to the nursing school is gained in the spring of their sophomore year.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that the United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage which is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Most nursing schools report declining enrollments and are not educating enough nurses to meet demand, according to AACN.

Dr. Carole Hanks, director of the pre-nursing program on the Baylor campus, said she was surprised at the large enrollment number, but added, "It's very exciting. Not only is it a large group, but they are strong, both academically and in leadership potential."

Hanks said the nursing school has traditionally admitted 72 students per semester, both transfer and Baylor pre-nursing students.

"If all 100 of the students remain pre-nursing majors through the lower level of the program, the nursing school will have to make special arrangements to accommodate them," she said.

Dr. Judy Wright Lott, dean of the School of Nursing, said Baylor is increasing enrollment this year in response to the national and international nursing shortage.

"This fall, we have 85 juniors starting the first of their four upper-level semesters.

We hope to maintain or increase the number of students admitted in the future," she said.

Lott said a complicating factor is the shortage of nursing faculty. "Nationwide, there are not enough nursing school faculty to educate the needed number of nurses. Faculty shortages limit the number of students nursing schools can accept."

But, she added, "It's encouraging to have so many excellent students, and we intend to assist each of them to become Baylor nurses."

"We want them all to graduate," Hanks said. "This is the answer to the health care crisis, and as a society we can't afford to tell any of them they cannot continue in nursing."

For more information, contact the nursing school at (214) 820-3361 or Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?