The Nursing and Allied Workers Immigration Blog is pleased to recognize this week as National Nurses Week. NNW is week-long celebration of the significant contributions that nurses have and continue to make to the American landscape. The American Nurses Association has a special page dedicated to highlighting facts about nurses.

Many of these facts detail the nursing shortage, the projections for short supply in the next decade, and the consequences of such short supply, including:

  • According to projections released in February 2004 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs top the list of the 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002-2012. Although RNs have listed among the top 10 growth occupations in the past, this is the first time in recent history that RNs have ranked first. These 10-year projections are widely used in career guidance, in planning education and training programs and in studying long-range employment trends. According to the BLS report, more than 2.9 million RNs will be employed in the year 2012, up 623,000 from the nearly 2.3 million RNs employed in 2002. However, the total job openings, which include both job growth and the net replacement of nurses, will be more than 1.1 million. This growth, coupled with current trends of nurses retiring or leaving the profession and fewer new nurses, could lead to a shortage of more than one million nurses by the end of this decade. (For details, see .)

  • The nation's registered nurse (RN) workforce is aging significantly and the number of full-time equivalent RNs per capita is forecast to peak around the year 2007 and decline steadily thereafter, according to Peter Buerhaus of Vanderbilt University's nursing school. Buerhaus also predicted that the number of RNs would fall 20 percent below the demand by 2010. (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 14, 2000).

  • Schools of nursing were forced to reject more than 147,000 qualified applications to nursing programs at all levels in 2005 - an increase of 18 percent over 2004, according to a report by the National League for Nursing (NLN). The NLN Blamed the problem in part on a continuing shortage of nursing educators. Meanwhile, nursing colleges and universities denied 32,617 qualified applicants in 2005, also resulting primarily from a shortage of nurse educators, according to survey data released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The AACN survey also reveals that enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs increased by 13.0 percent from 2004 to 2005. According to AACN, this is the fifth consecutive year of enrollment increases with 14.1, 16.6, 8.1 and 3.7 percent increases in 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001, respectively. Prior to the five-year upswing, baccalaureate nursing programs experienced six years of declining enrollments from 1995 through 2000.

Even more interesting facts can be found at the ANA's special webpage dedicated to NNW facts.