The Nursing Workforce: a Comparison of Three National Surveys


David Auerbach, Douglas Staiger, Ulrike Muench, Peter Buerhaus

Sep. 01, 2012

The termination of the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) represents a loss of a key source of information on the nursing workforce that has been available for more than 30 years. At the same time, this loss presents new opportunities to address some of the biases associated with using licensing data to construct lists of RNs to construct a sampling frame. Given the loss of this key national data source on the nursing workforce, the NSSRN is compared to existing alternatives for nursing workforce data in two U.S. Census Bureaus surveys: the Current Population Survey and the American Communities Survey. The endeavor of workforce planning and a deeper understanding of whether we are equipped to meet the nation's changing health care landscape will benefit from a thoughtful consideration of how best to obtain accurate and comparable data from future surveys.

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