What is it about?

The percentage of Black RNs in the nursing profession is lower than the representation of Black people in the US. The gap is most pronounced in Southern states. This study’s purpose was to look at admission criteria to determine if there were any regional differences that might explain this.

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Why is it important?

Nursing is the largest component of the health care workforce. The lack of representation in health care is one of many factors involved in health disparities. Admission to colleges and universities is a gatekeeping structure that disproportionately affects Black students in a variety of ways.


Half of nursing programs used metrics like GPA and test scores exclusively, and most programs that used some holistic criteria assigned greatest weight to GPA and test scores, essentially nullifying those criteria and despite evidence that this disadvantages qualified, underrepresented students because students with greater economic privilege, work fewer hours and have the resources to pay for tutors and test prep. Further, research has documented grading bias for Black compared to White students as well. This paper discusses suggestions for transitioning to holistic admissions review.

Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton
Samuel Merritt University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nursing Program Admission Barriers in the United States, Nurse Educator, July 2021, Wolters Kluwer Health,
DOI: 10.1097/nne.0000000000001071.
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