National Nursing Workforce Survey Published

05/19/2016

The NCSBN and The National Forum have announced the publication of the 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and The National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers (The National Forum) have announced the publication of the 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey, available as of May 19, 2016. This new study provides a comprehensive snapshot of the U.S. registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/VN) workforce in 2015.

Every two years, NCSBN partners with The National Forum to conduct the only national-level survey specifically focused on the U.S. nursing workforce. The study generates information on the supply of nurses in the country, which is critical to planning for sufficient numbers of nurses and ensuring a safe, diverse, accessible and effective health care system.

Study data were collected between June 2015 and September 2015. Approximately 79,000 nurses participated in the study, with representation from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Virgin Islands).

In addition to offering a description of the current nursing workforce, the data obtained from this study allow for an examination of trends as compared to the previous survey conducted in 2013, as well as past studies conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It also serves as a baseline for future research.

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Some highlights of the nurse survey

A trend that emerged from the latest study is that the nursing population is changing in both ethnic/racial and gender makeup. The number of male RNs is growing slightly with a higher proportion of male nurses in the more recently licensed cohorts (12.7 percent) as opposed to those licensed prior to 2000 (4.7 percent). Additionally, the nursing workforce is becoming more ethnically diverse as ethnic minorities are better represented in younger age-groups and in more recently licensed RNs than in older RNs and RNs licensed prior to 2000.  Similarly, newly licensed LPN/VNs were more likely to have a more diverse racial/ethnic composition.

Reflecting transformations in the health care environment, the study found that what is considered the “work setting” for both RNs and LPN/VNs has evolved, as patient care is no longer confined  within the walls of a health care facility, owing in part to the growing use and acceptance of technology. Nearly half of RNs and LPN/VNs in the study reported having provided nurse services using telehealth technologies.

Each board of nursing and state nursing workforce center will be provided with their own state data from the study that they can use for their own analyses as well as national-level data that they can use as a comparison benchmark.

The 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey is available as a supplement to the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Nursing Regulation (JNR) and can be purchased here.

Source: NCSBN

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