Forecasts of the Registered Nurse Workforce in California

Jul. 24, 2013

This report presents supply and demand forecasts for the Registered Nurse (RN) workforce in California from 2013 through 2030. These new forecasts are based on data from the 2012 California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) Survey of Registered Nurses, the U.S. Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) 2008 National Sample Survey of RNs, and data extracted from the BRN license records. The 2013 forecasts indicate that supply of and demand for RNs are fairly well-balanced, and the market will continue to be balanced in the future if current enrollment and state-to-state migration patterns are stable. The forecasts of RN supply take into account the aging of the RN workforce, new graduates (including those from out-of-state and international nursing programs), interstate flows of RNs, and changes in license status. The 2013 forecasts of supply incorporate new data for these factors. One important change relative to the 2011 forecasts is that expectations for future migration of nurses into California from other states were computed using a new method.

The demand forecasts are based on national numbers of RNs per 100,000 population. The demand for RNs can be measured and forecasted in many ways, reflecting disparate notions of what demand is or should be. Demand can be measured through benchmarks, such as the number of nurses per capita. Other demand forecasts may examine rates of population growth and population aging. Direct survey of employers can illuminate current demand for nursing positions. We developed several alternate forecasts of demand, using national RN-to-population data and estimating future hospital utilization in California. We also examined forecasts from EDD. The demand estimates produced from these different strategies provide a range of possible scenarios for the future.