Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ten States Most Under-Served by Registered Nurses

According to Area Health Resource Files (AHRF) data available from the Health Resources and Services Administration, there are 839 registered nurses employed for every 100,000 people here in the United States .  Among all health professions, that is the largest number of practitioners per 100,000 population in the U.S., which is not really surprising given the essential role registered nurses (RNs) play in quality healthcare delivery.  What may be more surprising is how much disparity exists in registered nurse employment from State to State.  As this map of registered nurse employment per 100,000 population reveals, some areas of the country are much better served by RNs than are others:

Registered Nurses per Capita

There are 31 States in all that have registered nurse employment that exceeds the 839 per 100,000 population national average.  And within this group there are a dozen States, mainly in the Northeast and Great Plains regions, that are particularly well served by registered nurses with employment greater than 1,000 registered nurses per 100,000 population.  But while some States are well served by RNs, there are 19 States, predominantly in the South and West, where registered nurse employment lags behind the national average. Some of these laggards, like California and Texas, actually have RN employment numbers among the highest in the nation in absolute terms.  But even in these two big States, RN employment is proportionately weak given their size.  With 719 RNs employed per 100,000 population, only 9 States are more under-served by registered nurses than Texas.  And the situation in California is poorer still, where just 657 RNs employed per 100,000 population makes the State more under-served by registered nurses than all but three States.  The State most under-served by registered nurses is Nevada, which has just 609 RNs employed per 100,000 people.  Unfortunately, for Nevada and other States that lag behind the national average, the situation could easily get worse in coming years.  The job outlook for RNs indicates a growing need for registered nurses due to a variety of demographic and technological factors.  This trend will will only exert more pressure on States already struggling to attract RNs.  Besides Nevada, California and Texas, here are the Ten States Most Under-Served by Registered Nurses based on current HRSA data: