Facts About the Nursing Workforce

  1. 3
    following are key facts about the nursing workforce of today and tomorrow.

    todayís nursing workforce

    in recent years, the nursing workforce in the united states has grown larger, more diverse, better educated, a little older and somewhat better paid, according to data from the federal government.

    overall size of nursing workforce. according to the health resources and services administration (hrsa) of the u.s. department of health and human services, the nation has an estimated 3.06 million licensed registered nursesómore than ever before. that figure represents a 5.3 percent increase since hrsaís last survey in 2004, outpacing u.s. population growth of 3.8 percent during the same period.

    most recent nursing workforce trends. in june 2010, the health care sector of the nationís economy continued to grow, adding more than 9,000 new jobs, according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics. over the preceding 12 months, the health care sector has added an average of more than 18,000 jobs per month.

    ratio of nurses to patients. the nation had 854 nurses per 100,000 people in 2008, up from 825 nurses per 100,000 people in 2004. that ratio varies from state to state. utah has the fewest registered nurses per person with 598 per 100,000 people, while the district of columbia has the most, with 1,868 per 100,000. regionally, new england has more nurses per 100,000 people than any other region, with 1,130; the pacific states (alaska, california, hawaii, oregon, washington) have the fewest, with 685. (source: hrsa.)

    nursing shortage. according to researchers, the nation faces a shortage of 250,000 nurses by 2025 the result of several trends, including the increased need for health care for aging baby boomers and the influx of new patients into the system as a result of health care reform.

    in or out of practice. the great majority of the nationís nurses, 84.4 percent, are still in practice, and 63.2 percent are working full-time. (source: hrsa.)

    race. the nationís nursing workforce is increasingly diverse, although white women are still over-represented by comparison to the general population. white, non-hispanics (65.6 percent of the u.s. population) are 83.2 percent of licensed registered nurses (down from 87.5 percent in 2004). asian, native hawaiian and pacific islanders account for the next largest demographic group at 5.8 percent (while 4.5 percent of the u.s. population). non-hispanic blacks are 5.4 percent of registered nurses (while 12.2 percent of the u.s. population), and hispanics/latinos (of any race) are 3.6 percent of registered nurses (while 15.4 percent of the u.s. population). (source: hrsa.)

    gender. women continue to outnumber men in the profession, by more than 15 to 1 in 2008. but the trend line is toward more diversity. among those who became registered nurses after 1990, the ratio is just 10 to 1. men account for 6.6 percent of the nursing population today, up from less than 3 percent in 1980. (source: hrsa.)

    age. the average age of registered nurses held relatively steady over the last four years, increasing from 46.8 years to 47.0 years. this slight increase arrests a long-term trend toward an older nursing workforce. in 2000, the average age was 45.2 years, and in 1996, it was 44.3 years. nevertheless, nearly 45 percent of registered nurses were 50 years of age or older in 2008, meaning that high retirement rates are in the near future. (source: hrsa.)

    education. in all, 36.8 percent of nurses have bachelorís degrees (up from 22.3 percent in 1980), while 36.1 percent of nurses have associate degrees (up from 17.9 percent in 1980). meanwhile, the percentage of registered nurses whose highest degree is a nursing diploma has declined over the last 30 years from 54.7 percent in 1980 to 13.9 percent in 2008. advanced degrees are increasingly common, as well: 13.2 percent of nurses held masterís or doctorates in 2008, up from 5.2 percent in 1980. (note that the data for bachelorís and higher degrees include both nursing and non-nursing degrees.) (source: hrsa.)

    the nursing workforce of the near future

    the nursing workforce is expected to grow quickly over the next several years, responding to increased demand from the aging baby boomer population and an increase in the number of people with access to health care.

    long-term employment trend. according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics (bls), nursing is poised to add more jobs to the nationís economy over the next decade than any other single profession. by 2018, more than 580,000 new jobs for registered nurses will be created, with an additional 460,000 jobs for home health care workers. together the two professions will account for nearly 7 percent of all new jobs created in the united states during the period.

    attrition vs. gains. the bls predicts that the number of nursing jobs will grow from 2.62 million in 2008 to 3.20 million in 2018óa 22 percent increase. at the same time, 458,000 nurses will leave the profession, bringing the total number of available nursing jobsóincluding both newly created jobs and jobs left vacant by nurses who leave the professionóto 1.04 million.

    other health care jobs. the bls anticipates that the number of home health aide jobs will grow quickly, at a 50-percent rate, from 920,000 to 1.38 million during the same period. an additional 276,000 jobs will be created for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, while 376,000 jobs will be created for personal and home care aides. in all, by 2018, nearly 1.7 million new jobs are expected to be created for nurses, home health aides, nursing aides, and orderlies and attendants. that accounts for more than 11 percent of all new jobs likely to be created during the period.

    facts about the nursing workforce published: jul 27, 2010
    [color=#38393c]reproduced with permission of the robert wood johnson foundation, princeton, n.j.
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 21, '11 : Reason: formatting for easier reading
    Joe V, SharonH, RN, and lindarn like this.
  2. 8,266 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Patience is a virtue. This report states what the future holds for the nursing profession. I still think that the profession has great promise for employment. It will happen.
    One2gofst, lindarn, and sunkissed75 like this.
  5. 5
    3.06 million registered nurses in the US! With that kind of number we should be able to get together and make our profession and patients stays so much better.
    Miss Chybil RN, RNDreamer, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  6. 3
    Quote from nrskarenrn
    most recent nursing workforce trends. in june 2010, the health care sector of the nationís economy continued to grow, adding more than 9,000 new jobs, according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics. over the preceding 12 months, the health care sector has added an average of more than 18,000 jobs per month.

    you really need to be more discerning when you quote blanket statistics. it's statements like this that have out of work nurses pulling their hair out, and people accusing out of work nurses of not trying hard enough to find jobs or of being too picky about the jobs they'll take. not all of the newly created jobs in healthcare are nursing jobs. it also doesn't take into any account the huge numbers of nursing jobs that have been eliminated. it's unfair and unwise for anyone who spouts this stuff not to fully examine the minutiae first.
  7. 10
    Quote from elprup
    3.06 million registered nurses in the US! With that kind of number we should be able to get together and make our profession and patients stays so much better.
    The three million + nurse in this country would be able to move mountains, if we stuck together and worked for the common good.

    We could be running hospitals as We know they should be run, with staffing ratios, inceased pay and compensation, pensions we could actually retire on- this list is endless.

    We will never accomplish anything as long as nurses continue to only see one side of an issue, and remain incapable of, "seeing the forest for the trees", and our individual needs.

    IT IS IN OUR COLLECTIVE BEST INTERSESTS, to increase our entry into practice. This will eliminate a large number of individuals who go into nursing because it a a quick way to be able to make a good salary, and increase the time it takes to graduate the next class. The longer hospitals have to wait for the next group of new grads, (and knowing that they are not being spit our every six months), will make our services more valuable. It will put an end to the "revolving door" profession that nursing has become.

    I am sorry for those who maintain that if they had to attend a four year program, they would not have been able to become RNs. Unfortunately, that is the way things go sometimes. Everyone who wants to be a doctor, PT,OT, etc, does not get into a program just because they want to, or have an abbreviated program offered, to make that happen.

    I believe that everyone on this listserve is bemoaning that flood of new grads that have happened because the PTB, are alllowing more and more nursing programs to open, with no consideration to what that is doing to the job market for the existing nurses in the workplace.

    This is exactly what they want. Flood the market with new grads, completely disempower the nursing profession, and eliminate unionzing, as nurses are even more afraid to join unions, who could ultimately help them in the end.

    We have to unite the put a stop to what others are doing to our profession. There is strength in numbers. It is about time that nurses step up to the plate and take control.

    The California Nurses Association and the National Nurses United, are a step in the right direction. Rather than fight unionizing, embrace it for what it can and will do for the nursing profession.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    Miss Chybil RN, bluescrubbss, Altra, and 7 others like this.
  8. 4
    I didn't see one mention of LPN/LVN's, why is that? I am a nurse and I work. I'm wondering why you act like we don't exist? This article is lacking in information.
    "Following are key facts about the nursing workforce of today and tomorrow"
  9. 0
    Quote from lindarn
    The three million + nurse in this country would be able to move mountains, if we stuck together and worked for the common good.

    We could be running hospitals as We know they should be run, with staffing ratios, inceased pay and compensation, pensions we could actually retire on- this list is endless.

    We will never accomplish anything as long as nurses continue to only see one side of an issue, and remain incapable of, "seeing the forest for the trees", and our individual needs.

    IT IS IN OUR COLLECTIVE BEST INTERSESTS, to increase our entry into practice. This will eliminate a large number of individuals who go into nursing because it a a quick way to be able to make a good salary, and increase the time it takes to graduate the next class. The longer hospitals have to wait for the next group of new grads, (and knowing that they are not being spit our every six months), will make our services more valuable. It will put an end to the "revolving door" profession that nursing has become.

    I am sorry for those who maintain that if they had to attend a four year program, they would not have been able to become RNs. Unfortunately, that is the way things go sometimes. Everyone who wants to be a doctor, PT,OT, etc, does not get into a program just because they want to, or have an abbreviated program offered, to make that happen.

    I believe that everyone on this listserve is bemoaning that flood of new grads that have happened because the PTB, are alllowing more and more nursing programs to open, with no consideration to what that is doing to the job market for the existing nurses in the workplace.

    This is exactly what they want. Flood the market with new grads, completely disempower the nursing profession, and eliminate unionzing, as nurses are even more afraid to join unions, who could ultimately help them in the end.

    We have to unite the put a stop to what others are doing to our profession. There is strength in numbers. It is about time that nurses step up to the plate and take control.

    The California Nurses Association and the National Nurses United, are a step in the right direction. Rather than fight unionizing, embrace it for what it can and will do for the nursing profession.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    I couldn't disagree more. I am a member of a union which is under the umbrella of the NNU. They have done NOTHING but roll over for management on a variety of issues. I'm tired of paying dues that DO NOTHING for me as a staff nurse. And now, part of my dues money is being paid to try to support Harry Reid to keep him in office?????????? What about putting nursing issues on the forefront?


Top