Study: Nursing workforce is more diverse, educated and male than before

There is increased diversity in gender and race/ethnicity within the nursing workforce, according to a study by New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing researchers.

The study, published in Nursing Outlook, follows a report published by the Institute of Medicine in 2010. The IOM report included various recommendations for the future of nursing, such as "increase the percentage of nurses who attain a bachelor's degree to 80 percent by 2020." The report also called for "increasing gender and ethnic diversity in nursing" as well as "fostering collaboration between nurses and other professionals," according to NYU. 

For the current study, researchers examined data from 13 U.S. states from four cohorts of nurses newly licensed in 2004 to 2005, 2007 to 2008, 2010 to 2011, and 2014 to 2015.

The study found more males are becoming nurses: 8.8 percent of males became licensed in the 2004 to 2005 cohort compared to 13.6 percent in the 2014 to 2015 cohort. There has also been more diversity in the nursing workforce. The report found the percentage of white-non-Hispanic nurses who were licensed was 78.9 percent in 2007 to 2008 compared to 73.8 percent in 2014 to 2015.

"These differences primarily reflect an increase in white-Hispanic nurses," researchers wrote.

As far as education, the report found 36.6 percent of nurses were obtaining a bachelor's degree as their first professional degree in the 2004 to 2005 cohort compared to 48.5 percent in 2014 to 2015 cohort.

Additionally, "about 40 percent of the 2014 to 2015 cohort reported that they learned to work in interprofessional teams, [and] collegial nurse-physician relations had an upward positive trajectory over time increasing almost 7 percent," said researchers.

While strides have been made with diversity and education within the nursing workforce, researchers concluded these gains do not yet fully meet IOM recommendations.  


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