Nurse workforce shows signs of bouncing back

The nursing workforce is 6% larger in 2023 than in 2019, hinting at a bounce back to pre-pandemic numbers, a study found.

The study, published Feb. 16 in JAMA Health Forum, used data from the Census Current Population Survey, which included employed registered nurses ages 23 to 69 from 1982 to 2023. The study sample included more than 455,000 registered nurses.

In 2021, the registered nurse workforce fell by more than 100,000 — the greatest single-year drop in the last 40 years. After the decline, registered nurse employment began to recover, rising 6% compared to 2019 (3.35 million versus 3.16 million, respectively). 

The growth is projected to increase by 1.2 million full-time registered nurses by 2035. Growth is expected to be driven by registered nurses ages 35 to 49. That age group is projected to comprise 47% of the workforce in 2035, up from 28% in 2022.

"The rebound in the total size of the US RN workforce during 2022 and 2023 indicates that the earlier drop in RN employment during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic was likely transitory," the study authors said.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars