May 19, 2016 14:00 ET

NCSBN and The National Forum Publish the 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 19, 2016) -  The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and The National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers (The National Forum) announce the publication of the 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey, a new study that provides a comprehensive snapshot of the U.S. registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/VN) workforce in 2015.

Every two years, NCSBN partners with The National Forum to conduct the only national-level survey specifically focused on the U.S. nursing workforce. The study generates information on the supply of nurses in the country, which is critical to planning for sufficient numbers of nurses and ensuring a safe, diverse, accessible and effective health care system.

Study data were collected between June 2015 and September 2015. Approximately 79,000 nurses participated in the study, with representation from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Virgin Islands).

In addition to offering a description of the current nursing workforce, the data obtained from this study allow for an examination of trends as compared to the previous survey conducted in 2013, as well as past studies conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It also serves as a baseline for future research.

A trend that emerged from the study is that the nursing population is changing in both ethnic/racial and gender makeup. The number of male RNs is growing slightly with a higher proportion of male nurses in the more recently licensed cohorts (12.7 percent) as opposed to those licensed prior to 2000 (4.7 percent). Additionally, the nursing workforce is becoming more ethnically diverse as ethnic minorities are better represented in younger age groups and in more recently licensed RNs than in older RNs and RNs licensed prior to 2000. Similarly, newly licensed LPN/VNs were more likely to have a more diverse racial/ethnic composition.

Reflecting transformations in the health care environment, the study found that what is considered the "work setting" for both RNs and LPN/VNs has evolved, as patient care is no longer confined within the walls of a health care facility, owing in part to the growing use and acceptance of technology. Nearly half of RNs and LPN/VNs in the study reported having provided nurse services using telehealth technologies.

Each board of nursing and state nursing workforce center will be provided with their own state data from the study that they can use for their own analyses as well as national-level data that they can use as a comparison benchmark. 

The article, "The 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey," is available as a supplement to the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Nursing Regulation (JNR) and can be purchased at

About The National Forum
The National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers is a national group of nurse workforce entities that focus on addressing the nursing shortage within each state and contributes to the national effort to assure an adequate supply of qualified nurses to meet the health needs of the U.S. population. The Forum supports the advancement of new as well as existing nurse workforce initiatives and shares best practices in nursing workforce research, workforce planning, workforce development and formulation of workforce policy. The Forum shares information in three major ways: through publications, via annual conferences, and by way of a virtual network located at


Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together boards of nursing (BONs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. NCSBN's membership is comprised of the BONs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories -- American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are also 24 associate members that are either nursing regulatory bodies or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.

NCSBN Member Boards protect the public by ensuring that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses. These BONs regulate more than 4.5 million licensed nurses.

Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidence-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection.

The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not the individual member state or territorial boards of nursing.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601-4277

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Dawn M. Kappel
    Director, Marketing and Communications
    312.525.3667 direct
    312.279.1034 fax
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