Now Reading: Registered nurse supply grows faster than projected amid surge in new entrants ages 23-26

This is an update on a paper I commented on a year ago (See: “Now Reading: The changing nursing profession“). That study noted a surge in younger entrance into the nursing profession. This one points to a continuation of that trend, and possibly an erasure of the pending nursing shortage:

However, since 2002 the number of young registered nurses has grown at a rate not seen since the 1970s. Between 2002 and 2009 the number of full-time- equivalent RNs ages 23–26 increased steadily by 62 percent (95% confidence interval: 42, 82; p < 0:001) to approxi-
mately 165,000 full-time equivalents.We examined characteristics of registered nurses newly entering the workforce in 2009 versus 2001–02 and did not find large or significant differences in char- acteristics such as sex, nationality, or ethnicity (data available upon request).


Our projections suggest that the supply of registered nurses will be roughly 15 percent below this projected 2030 need if entry into nursing remains at recent levels. However, they also suggest that the supply of RNs would surpass this demand, reaching just over 1,000 full-time-equivalent registered nurses per 100,000 residents, if entering cohort sizes continue to grow at current levels, or 2 percent per year.

In my glass half-fullness, it is great to see the profession achieving good growth, and hopefully with a new generation, savviness with technology and social media. As I commented a year ago “RN’s do belong in social media, and we should support their growth and development as leaders in this field.” Still agree!


Ted Eytan, MD