Los Angeles Community College District Nursing Programs Have 23% Attrition Rate
Almost one-fourth of students enrolled in Los Angeles Community College District nursing programs left the programs during the 2003-2004 academic year, an attrition rate 35% higher than the state average, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. According to LACCD officials, the high attrition rate is "becoming one or the most significant bottlenecks in an already strained system that produces two-thirds of the state's nurses," the Press-Telegram reports.
In the 2003-2004 academic year, nursing programs at community colleges statewide had an attrition rate of 17.1%, compared with 10.8% for programs at four-year colleges, according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission. LACCD nursing programs had an attrition rate of 23.2%, according to CPEC and the Board of Registered Nursing.
According to the Press-Telegram, the high attrition rates for nursing programs at community colleges have resulted in part because "students often juggle the demands of full-time jobs and family duties." In addition, 40% of such students do not speak English as their first language, Darroch Young, senior vice chancellor for LACCD, said. Sue Albert, president of the southern section of the California Organization of ADN Program Directors, added, "Then you have the issues where people are unable to do critical thinking and can't do correct math, and can't recognize that their math is incorrect. A decimal in a wrong place can be a lethal dose."
Albert and others hope to address the high attrition rates for nursing programs at community colleges through tighter admissions standards. Students currently are admitted from waiting lists based on lottery positions "without regard to their preparedness," the Press-Telegram reports. Albert said, "At no point have we said we want to deny access. We just want to make sure people are prepared to come into the program" (Sodders, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 4/17).