Recently, the Health Resources and Services Administration released the findings of a large-scale survey of registered nurses. Identifying key trends and statistics in nursing today, the survey is the largest survey of registered nurses in the United States. Full results of the survey are available at the HRSA website.

Top 3 Key Trends

  1. The nursing workforce is growing. As of the survey, there were more than 3 million licensed, registered nurses in the United States. This number has increased 5.3 percent since 2004 – a growth of more than 150,000 RNs. Nearly 450,000 RNs received their first license (in the U.S.) during that span, so nearly 300,000 nurses allowed their licenses to expire, in all likelihood due to retirements.
  2. Nurses are finding work. An estimated 2,596,399 RNs were employed in nursing when the survey was conducted – nearly 85% of the workforce. This rate is the highest since the survey was first conducted in 1977. Another promising sign – there has been an increase of approximately 5% in nurses who are employed full-time. This is the first time that has happened since 1996!
  3. Nurses are happy with their work. More than 80% of RNs reported that they were extremely or modestly satisfied with their primary nursing position. Since the previous survey, that shows a marginal increase of about 4%. The highest rate of satisfaction was shown by RNs working in academic education programs.

Nursing Fast Facts

Considering a career in nursing? These fast facts from the HRSA may help you with your decision:

  • The number of licensed RNs in the U.S. grew by 5 percent between 2004 and 2008 to a new high of 3.1 million.
  • The number of RNs under the age of 30 increased for the first time in three decades.
  • Registered nurse salaries increased nearly 16 percent since 2004, slightly outpacing inflation.
  • Employment in nursing rose to almost 85 percent of RNs with active licenses – the highest since 1980.
  • Workforce diversity is up – in 2008, 16.8 percent of nurses were Asian, Black/African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and/or Hispanic; an increase from 12.2 percent in 2004.

Searching for nursing career opportunities?
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