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Nursing intakes vary around the country.

FEWER THAN 1500 students began bachelor of nursing (BN) programmes in the country's 17 nursing schools last month (see table below). Some schools experienced an increase in numbers, others a decline. Emerging trends include an increase in the number of international students, second-chance learners, those wanting to complete a BN part-time and those who have done pre-nursing foundation courses.

Auckland University's Heather Baker said they had the same number of applications, 280, as last year, with more males. Around 10 per cent of the intake are international students and applications from such students topped 100 this year. UNITEC has also had increased interest from international students, with interest from China, Fiji, and some from Scan dinavia and Eastern Europe. Julianne Hall of Auckland University of Technology said the student mix had changed over the last few years with more mature students, many different ethnicities and more women with families.

There has been a drop at the Waikato Institute of Technology (WIT). The institute offered 160 places with 125 students starting, 16 of whom are on the Tihei Mauri Ora course.

There had been fluctuations rather than a downward trend at Massey University's Wellington campus over the last few years, according to head of school Julie Boddy. The number of international students was kept at 10 percent of first-year numbers "but we could have a lot more than that," she said.

At Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), a late rush of high-quality applicants has meant the 90 places for its February intake have been filled.

Otago Polytechnic's nursing school had a similar late surge in applications and the school is just three full-time students down on its 96 first year places. This year there are fewer students with other degrees and more school leavers, according to BN programme manager Linda Kinniburgh. Overall, applications were down and she believes negative media images of low pay and conditions of work have affected the level of interest in nursing.

The Eastern Institute of Technology has introduced fee scholarships for year 13 students and these meant more students had stayed in Hawke's Bay, according to BN programme leader Ruth Crawford.

UCOL in Palmerston North has had no trouble meeting its targets at its four campuses, with a waiting list at Palmerston North. Head of school Janet Olliver said it could not meet the demand because of the limitations imposed by available clinical placements.

Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua has also experienced a higher number of applicants than in previous years.

At Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki numbers are about 15 down on last year. But there is a high level of interest in a programme, Te Ara Whata Matauranga Tapa Wha, originally for Maori students. The six-month course aims to help students become independent learners. Those who complete the course gain automatic entry to the BN programme. This year the programme is being offered in New Plymouth and is open to the whole community. "It's a very exciting development and those who have completed it have achieved well," head of school Heather Moore said.

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology has 50 students this year, ten down on the places it offers but ten up on last year. Head of school Carolyn Reed believes the student debt burden and publicity about nurses' salaries compared to other professions are factors in the decrease in numbers.
Nursing Schools' first-year intakes in February 2004:

Northland 45
Auckland University of Technology 102
Manukau Institute of Technology 71 (plus 7 part-time)
Auckland University 84
Waikato Institute of Technology 125 (including 16 for
 Tihei Mauri Ora)
Waiariki Institute of Technology 104 (at Rotorua and
Western Institute of Technology 30
Eastern Institute of Technology 70
Massey Palmerston North 25
UCOL (Palmerston North) 180 (includes 90 at 3
 outlying campuses)
Massey Wellington 85
Whitireia 80 plus 26 in Pacific
Nelson/Marlborough 50
Christchurch (CPIT) 90
Otago 93
Southland 78

* These figures may vary slightly as the year gets underway.

Total: 1436
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Title Annotation:news and events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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