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Section 1 The Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse Workforce An analysis of recent trends in the nursing workforce is important to...

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  1. What percentage of states has fewer than 900 registered nurses per 100,000 in population? Does the collection of states represented by this percentage generally represent a specific region of the country? If so, which region might this be; if not, why not?
  2. How many states have a number of registered nurses per 100,000 in their workforce in the range of 1,100-1,248?
  3. According to Census 2000 and ACS 08-10, which age range has the highest number of registered nurses working?
  4. According to Census 2000 and ACS 08-10, approximately what percentage of the registered nursing workforce is 61 or older?
  5. In which setting(s) did the estimated number of registered nurses more than double?
  6. Overall, how do the graphs of the age distributions for the RN workforce and the LPN workforce compare?
  7. Describe 2 additional pieces of information that you can read from the data displays.
The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education 3 Section 1 The Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse Workforce An analysis of recent trends in the nursing workforce is important to anticipate future supply growth and identify likely changes in educational and demographic composition. Information on the size of the U.S. nursing workforce and its distribution across states and in rural and urban areas is presented. Growth in the workforce over time is measured against growth in the general population. Next, key trends in educational attainment, racial/ethnic composition, and gender are highlighted. The section concludes with an analysis of trends in the setting and work hours of the nursing workforce. Two sources of data from the U.S. Census Bureau were used to examine the current supply of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), as well as changes in the workforce that have occurred during the past decade: the American Community Survey (ACS) three-year combined Fle for 2008 to 2010 and the Census 2000 Long ±orm 5-percent sample. (See “About the Data” below.) Owing to the household sampling strategy of these Census surveys, all results presented in this section are for the nursing workforce —those individuals who report their current occupation as nursing and who currently have or are seeking a job. It is not possible to count, with either data source, the number of individuals educated or licensed as nurses who are working in another Feld or are out of the workforce entirely. Another important note is that advanced practice registered nurses are included in results for RNs. The Census data sources used here do not separate them.
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The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education 4 About the Data The ACS 2008 to 2010 three-year Fle and Census 2000 Long ±orm 5-percent sample o²er nearly identical question wording and an established set of techniques for comparing results over time. The sources also o²er large sample sizes: more than 110,000 RNs and 31,000 LPNs are included within the 2000 5-percent sample, while nearly 90,000 RNs and more than 21,000 LPNs are included in the ACS 2008 to 2010 three-year Fle. This means that estimates derived from these sources are highly precise and, in most cases, can be made at both state and national levels. The ACS 2008 to 2010 three-year Fle was selected over a single- year Fle in order to improve the precision of state and national estimates. Unlike the Census 2000 data, which represent a point in time, the ACS three-year Fle represents an average of the three-year time period. It is inappropriate to refer to this estimate as representing 2009. Throughout this section, we refer to this as the “current” nurse supply because it was the most up-to-date three-year Fle available at the time of our analysis. ±or most estimates, relative standard errors (RSEs) are quite small. Because of the large sample size, even small di²erences across time (1 or 2 percentage points) are statistically signiFcant at the 0.05 level. All di²erences over time discussed within the text of this section are statistically signiFcant, though detailed results of signiFcance testing are not presented. All estimates reported in this section have an RSE of less than 30 percent. More information about the data sources and methods used in this report can be found in “The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Technical Documentation,” available at http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/index.html .
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