Trends in the Experiences of Hospital-Employed Registered Nurses: Results From Three National Surveys

Peter I. Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN; Karen Donelan, ScD; Beth T. Ulrich, EdD, RN, FACHE, FAAN; Catherine Desroches, Dr.P.H.; Robert Dittus, MD, MPH


Nurs Econ. 2007;25(2):69-79. 

In This Article

Concluding Comments

Given reports of a global shortage of nurses, forecasts of an aging and eventually smaller nursing workforce in the United States, projections of a large nursing shortage developing in the United States over the next decade, and no national policy or coherent data collection strategy to routinely assess the nursing workforce in the United States, the comparative results of these three national surveys reported in this article provide the only known source of data describing the evolving state of the nursing workforce over time in this country (Auerbach, Buerhaus, & Staiger, 2007). These national random sample surveys expose the harmful effects of a lingering shortage of nurses and make plain that much work remains to be done to improve the experiences of hospital-employed RNs. At the same time, nurses and others involved in hospital patient care should be encouraged by the improvements that have been made in recent years, despite the presence of a nursing shortage.

Whether the current shortage is resolved and further improvements in the work environment of RNs are made in the years ahead will heavily influence whether the nursing workforce in the United States grows stronger over time, or weakens and nurses and hospitals find that they are unable to meet the multiple and substantial challenges an aging society will place upon them in the next decade. Increasing the capacity of nursing education programs, developing innovative ways to retain older RNs in the workforce, and improving the hospital workplace continue to be among the most pressing challenges confronting the nurse workforce.

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The print version of this article was originally certified for CE (continuing education) credit. For accreditation details, please contact the publisher, Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc., East Holly Avenue Box 56, Pitman, New Jersey 08071


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