The Nursing Career Process From Application Through the First 2 Years of Employment

Christine T. Kovner, Maja Djukic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this analysis is to describe the attrition process from application to associate and baccalaureate basic RN programs through the first 2 years of work using estimates from best available nationally representative data. Results of the analysis show that although about 41,000 qualified applicants are not admitted to basic RN programs, most students (76.2%) who enroll in basic RN programs graduate, and most RN graduates who pass the National Council Licensure Examination stay in their first nursing job (73.8%) and nursing (97.9%) for at least 2 years. The results suggest that room for improvement exists for retention across educational and work settings, but the system appears to be most leaky at the point of admitting qualified applicants. Precise data about attrition from educational and employment settings are essential for resolving educational capacity and workforce retention issues, but precise data are difficult to obtain. A solution may be to assign each applicant a unique identifier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Attrition
  • Enrollments
  • Graduation rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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