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New, curated resource of RN workforce data: ANA Nurses by the Numbers


The 2016 edition of ANA’s Nurses by the Numbers™ is the first of a new series from the American Nurses Association (ANA) that pulls together data from federal sources with respect to RNs and APRNs. As it happens, many of the services provided by RNs and APRNs remain uncounted, diminishing nurses’ visibility. Further, where current RN/APRN counts do exist, they are scattered across various websites, collected using a variety of definitions, and tabulated over different time frames. This volume is intended as an initial step in bringing contemporary economic information regarding nurses into a single site to make the information more easily accessible to RNs and APRNs.

10 exhibits center on RN and APRN employment and compensation, including:

  • jobs and wages by state
  • a national snapshot of RN salaries
  • average earnings for hospital staff RNs
  • predicted changes in RN and APRN employment over the next decade
  • salary and hiring trends since the end of the recession.

Although it is possible to scroll through the document from top to bottom that’s probably not the best way to take in ANA’s Nurses by the Numbers. There are many different pieces here and each of the 10 exhibits tells one part of the story of RN/APRN employment and compensation.

Wages, new jobs, retirements

Experienced RNs/APRNs might want to examine the exhibit “How Do RN/APRN Jobs and Wages Vary Across the States?” Readers could identify the averages for their own state and nearby states that might be of interest. Hospital Staff RNs might be more interested in the exhibits, “How Have Hospital Staff RN Wages Changed Since the End of the Recession?” and “How Much Do Hospital Staff RNs Earn on Average?”

RNs/APRNs of all ages will be interested in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS’s) projections of retirements and new jobs. Between 2014 and 2024 BLS projects 689,200 RNs/APRNs will retire or otherwise leave the labor force. In addition, 492,700 new jobs for RNs/APRNs will be created. This means that 1.18 million vacancies will emerge over that time frame. This expected growth will create many opportunities for RNs/APRNs. The challenge for hospitals and the entire health system will be navigating the loss of hundreds of thousands of nurses with 35 or more years of experience.

A supplemental essay based on data from the American Community Survey reviews changes in cohorts of RNs entering the profession over time. Those data reveal recent modest diversity increases in the RN/APRN population.

The essay also addresses the opportunities that will arise with the retirement of virtually one million RNs/APRNs who entered the profession in the 1970s and 1980s. Those opportunities include accelerating both the change to a more diverse RN population and the change to a profession where a supermajority of RNs practice with a minimum of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) as recommended by the Institute of Medicine in 2010.

Tell us what you think

We’d like your help to improve this document and future editions. Send your feedback and suggestions to NBN@ana.org. Let us know if there is language that is confusing. Make suggestions to improve the graphics. Suggest alternative sources of RN/APRN data for future editions in the series. We will be exploring data from CMS, Census, and HRSA for editions yet to come.

Log on to ANA’s Nurses by the Numbers.

Peter McMenamin is ANA’s health economist.


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