Enrollment last fall increased 10.4% in “RN-to-BSN” programs and 26.2% in practice-focused doctoral programs as nurses returned to school in record numbers to develop their skills, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported today. “This tremendous increase in RN to BSN education comes at a critical time in health care reform when more baccalaureate-prepared nurses are needed to fill critical roles across the continuum of care, especially outside of hospital walls,” said Pamela Thompson, CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a subsidiary of AHA, and national program director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing program. “Certainly, the market for the BSN nurse has been stimulated by demand from employers who recognize the important role baccalaureate nurses play in achieving both individual and population health outcomes.” Enrollment also increased 6.6% in master’s programs, 4.2% in entry-level baccalaureate programs and 3.2% in research-focused doctoral programs for nurses.