- What is the latest trend in the nursing workforce in the United States?
- What does this mean for U.S. nursing staff needs?
The vast preponderance of the nation's registered nurses are women. In the 1980s and 1990s, a decline in the number of women ages 23-26 who were choosing nursing as a career led to concerns that there would be future nurse shortages unless the trend was reversed. Between 2002 and 2009, however, the number of full-time-equivalent registered nurses ages 23-26 increased by 62 percent. If these young nurses follow the same life-cycle employment patterns as those who preceded them--as they appear to be thus far--then they will be the largest cohort of registered nurses ever observed. Because of this surge in the number of young people entering nursing during the past decade, the nurse workforce is projected to grow faster during the next two decades than previously anticipated. However, it is uncertain whether interest in nursing will continue to grow in the future.
- The number of people aged 23 to 26—primarily women—who became registered nurses increased by 62 percent from 2002 to 2009.
- If the trend continues, by 2030 there will be enough registered nurses to meet the nation's projected needs.
- Growth can be attributed to efforts promoting nursing careers, and expanded enrollment and accelerated training schedules in nurse training programs.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.