Since the COVID-19 outbreak took hold in the U.S., the number of inquiries and applications from prospective students has increased significantly at some nursing schools. Students have been drawn to the nursing profession because of the pandemic. This horrible situation continues to attract more students to the healthcare industry as they're seeing the need for more health care providers. Data from various nursing programs show an increase in male applicants. Increasing awareness and appreciation of the nursing profession is encouraging people to enter the field.

Nevertheless, it is unclear whether a rise in applicants is happening at a majority of nursing programs. It is also difficult to predict how long this trend will persist and even harder to imagine the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nursing profession. While the coronavirus pandemic could spur people to discover their calling to nursing, it might discourage individuals from pursuing a nursing degree if they have worries about safety, experts say.

There is a concern that the health of nurses has not been a high priority in this fight against the coronavirus. The media has focused on challenges such as the lack of personal protective equipment available to nurses, difficult work environments and long hours. These perceptions could result in less interest in nursing as a career. The final impact of the pandemic on the profession remains to be seen.

However, given the possibility that nursing schools might become significantly more selective in the near future, aspiring nurses should bolster their credentials accordingly. The nursing school admissions process was already extremely competitive prior to the pandemic. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the shortage of spots at U.S. nursing schools for the 2018-2019 school year was so severe that more than 75,000 qualified candidates were denied entry.

Some of the contributing factors were an insufficient number of nursing faculty members, an inadequate amount of classroom space, budgetary limitations and a lack of clinical sites and clinical preceptors.

Our Club members who are nurses suggest that potential nursing students consider taking the following steps to become compelling candidates.

• Write a compelling admissions essay

• Study hard for entrance exams

• Earn strong grades in prerequisite science classes

• Request references from managers or professors

• Gain relevant experience