I’ve served on the Academy board for seven of the last eight years now and am baffled by the persistent misconception that the Academy is lowering its standards for the selection of new fellows. While we each can probably claim to know someone whom we would not have admitted, a member of the Fellow Selection Committee said that this year’s process was the most rigorous she had experienced in three years of service.
Consider these facts about this year’s selection:
- We had a record number of submissions—278 applications.
- 170 applicants from 41 states and 5 countries were selected for fellowship.
- This year’s acceptance rate was 61%—lower than the 70% or higher proportion in recent years.
And this follows a pattern of rigor that has characterized the fellow selection process in recent years. Yet, some fellows have argued that the large numbers of new fellows in the past few years point to a lowering of our standards. I would argue that the profession has been intently focused on increasing the number of well-educated, fine leaders who are changing nursing, the health of the nation, and its health care system. This will only increase if the profession responds as it should to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations. So why should we be surprised at the increasing number of applicants and new fellows?
If you have any doubts, talk to members of the Fellow Selection Committee, including this year’s fine co-chairs, Linda Scott and Kaye Bender. They will be available during the Open Forum at our October conference and meeting in Washington, DC, to answer any questions you may have about the process.
I hope you’ll join me at our October conference in celebrating the 2014 cadre of new fellows and congratulating them on their superb contributions to nursing and health care.
Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN