Projections of the Long-Term Growth of the Registered Nurse Workforce: a Regional Analysis


Peter Buerhaus, David Auerbach, Douglas Staiger, Ulrike Muench

Jan. 01, 2013

Providing regional projections of the RN workforce will allow underlying differences in the age structure of the RN workforce to become more visible. By providing regional-level projections, it will also be possible to identify those regions whose RN workforce is expected to grow at a slower rate relative to other regions. States in the South and Midwest have a greater supply of younger-aged RNs available to replace fewer numbers of older-age RNs compared to other regions. In contrast, the Northeast and West have fewer younger RNs currently in their workforce yet a relatively larger number of older age RNs to replace. These differences in age structure may be partly due to differences in nursing school enrollment and expansion in nursing education capacity across regions. This information can help guide national and state health workforce planners, employers, educators, and others in developing policies and initiatives that may impact nursing supply in their states.

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