New York joins California as the second state to confirm a growing
shortage of registered nurses, according to a recently published Health
Resources and Services Administration-supported study. Researchers found a
25 percent decline in RN graduates--about 1,900 per year--from New York
nursing schools between 1995 and 2000. The researchers reported that
health care providers in the state are beginning to experience difficulty
in meeting their service delivery needs because of the decreasing nurse
supply, and that demand is likely to remain steady or increase.
"This study adds to the evidence weve gathered about the
potential for a nationwide nurse shortage, and presents serious
consequences for the nations health care system," said HRSA
Administrator Claude Earl Fox, M.D., M.P.H. "A supply of
appropriately educated nurses is essential for an effective health care
The study, Meeting Future Nursing Needs of New Yorkers: A Study of
Registered Nursing in New York State, was conducted by researchers at
the Center for Health Workforce Studies, State University of New
York-Albany, which receives funding from the National Center for Health
Workforce Information and Analysis in HRSAs Bureau of Health
Other findings from the study include:
- While the total supply of RNs may have been adequate in 1998 and
1999, there were unfilled vacancies for nurses with specific skills or
experience. For example, hospitals in New York City reported
significant difficulty in recruiting peri-operative, critical care and
emergency room nurses.
- Because the number of new RNs is decreasing while the demand
appears to be constant or increasing, the RN shortage is likely to
grow over the next few years.
- Of the recently licensed RNs from New York state programs, the
average age was 32 years. The average age is 34 for recently licensed
RNs from associate degree programs and 29 for RNs
from baccalaureate nursing programs. The age of entry into nursing has
increased over the past decade, which in the long run may reduce the
supply of active RNs.
- Recently licensed RNs showed 12.7 percent for African Americans and
4.9 percent for Hispanic/Latino individuals, which fell short of their
representation in the general population of 17.7 percent and 14.4
"Our study found that, at a time when deans of nursing programs
are reporting more job opportunities for graduates and employers statewide
are reporting more difficulty recruiting nurses with specific skills,
nursing school graduations are dropping sharply," said Edward S.
Salsberg, M.P.A., CHWS director. "We concluded that RN shortages are
likely to increase over the next few years, and steps must be taken to
increase enrollment in nursing programs and to spread the word about
In addition to the nursing study, CHWS recently published two other
HRSA-funded health workforce studies. Residency Training Outcomes by
Specialty in 1999 for New York State highlighted an annual survey of
physicians completing training in New York. This study found that New York
trains more physicians than any other state, and as a result, the job
market for physicians was generally good and demand was equal to or
slightly better than in 1998. Trends in the Supply and Demand for
Health Workers in New York City presented the results of a health
workforce tracking system which monitors trends in the supply and demand
for health workers in the city. The report documents that after two years
of minor declines, total New York City health care employment began to
rise in 1998.
Copies of the studies are available from HRSAs Bureau of Health
Professions National Center for Health Workforce Information and
Analysis by calling 301-443-6920 or from the State University of New
York-Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies by calling 518-402-0250.
They are also available on the World Wide Web at http://chws.albany.edu.