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Emory nursing workforce report details shortage of nurses in Georgia

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Catherine Morrow

Georgia has one of the lowest densities of registered nurses in the nation, according to a decade-long report recently published by Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Led by Jeannie Cimiotti, PhD, RN, associate professor in Emory’s School of Nursing, the 10-year longitudinal study details nurse demographic and employment characteristics. The study includes data from 2009-2018.

Estimates from the study suggest that Georgia has seen little growth in its registered nurse workforce, roughly 3% annually, over the past decade despite an increase in the state’s overall population. Although there was a larger increase reported in the percentage of nurse practitioners, it is the registered nurses who provide most of the hands-on nursing care statewide.

To further complicate this shortage of nurses was the annual increase reported in the percentage of nurses who were 65 years-of-age and older; a cohort that will soon will seek retirement and further jeopardize the Georgia nurse workforce.

“It is imperative that we understand the dynamics of Georgia’s nurse workforce to enhance future nurse workforce planning,” the authors said.

The nurse demographic and employment characteristics as well as compensation details were obtained through the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Employment Survey from 2009-2018.

Linda McCauley PhD, RN, dean and professor at Emory’s School of Nursing, is senior author on the report. Contributing authors include Yin Li, PhD, assistant research professor; Masato Yoshihara, MPH, data analyst and Vicki Hertzberg PhD, professor and director in the Center for Data Science; all within Emory University’s School of Nursing.

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