Increase in growth rate of nurses set to drop to 1.3 percent

October 13, 2017

(HealthDay)—The annual per capita growth rate in the nursing workforce is expected to decrease to 1.3 percent from 2015 to 2030, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

David I. Auerbach, Ph.D., from Montana State University in Bozeman, and colleagues used a model to forecast the number of registered nurses (RNs) by age for each year from 2016 to 2030 based on the observed average size of the previous five birth cohorts.

The researchers found that compared with an average baby boomer, an average millennial has been nearly twice as likely (186 percent) to become an RN. The increasing rates of entry into the nursing appear to have plateaued, with a constant number of RNs taking the required licensure exam in 2013-2016 compared with a doubling between 2003 and 2013. Between 2015 and 2030, the nurse workforce is expected to grow 36 percent to just over 4 million RNs, at a rate of 1.3 percent annual per capita growth. This per capita growth rate is similar to that seen from 1979 to 2000 and half the rate seen in 2000-2015 (2.5 percent).

"A more slowly growing workforce and the loss of an experienced cohort of RNs should be on the minds of provider and payer organizations as they transition to new care delivery and payment models in the next decade," the authors write.

Explore further: More nurses are earning bachelor's degrees, but likely will not reach 2020 goal

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