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Nurse Week Information

Fact Sheet for Nurse Week Discussion

Did you know?

  • There are nearly 3.1 million registered nurses in the United States.

  • National Nurses Week has a distinctive history.

  • The American Nurses Association was founded in 1896.

  • Isabel Adams Hampton Robb was the first president of the American Nurses Association.

  • 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)

  • Research indicates that advanced practice nurses can provide 60 to 80 percent of primary care services as well as or better than physicians and at a lesser cost.

  • 49 states and the District of Columbia allow advanced practice nurses to prescribe medications.

  • The January 5, 2000, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the results of a study which revealed patients fared just as well when treated by nurse practitioners as they did when treated by physicians.

  • The nation's nurses rank second for their honesty and integrity, with 84 percent of Americans rating them "high" or "very high," according to a 2001 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Firefighters, who were given high ratings by 90 percent of Americans, displaced nurses from the poll's top slot, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses had previously rated first for two years in a row after being added to the list in 1999.

  • According to a 1989 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (325 (25), 1720-1725), hospitals with more registered nurses on staff and higher ratios of nurses to patients had 6.3 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients than hospitals that did not have those characteristics.

  • The link between adequate and appropriate nurse staffing and positive patient outcomes has been shown in several ANA publications and studies, including ANA's Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes in Inpatient Hospital Settings. This report, published in May 2000, found that shorter lengths of stay are strongly related to higher RN staffing per acuity-adjusted day and that patient morbidity indicators for preventable conditions are inversely related to RN skill mix.

  • A January 2001 ANA Staffing Survey revealed that America's RNs feel that deteriorating working conditions have led to a decline in the quality of nursing care. Specifically, 75 percent of nurses surveyed felt the quality of nursing care at the facility in which they work has declined over the past two years, while 56 percent of nurses surveyed believe that the time they have available for patient care has decreased. In addition, over 40 percent said they would not feel comfortable having a family member or someone close to them be cared for in the facility in which they work, and over 54 percent would not recommend the profession to their children or their friends. These statistics reveal a disturbing trend.

  • America's registered nurses report that health and safety concerns play a major role in their decisions to remain in the profession, according to findings from a Health and Safety Survey released in September 2001. In the survey, over 70 percent (70.5 percent) of nurses cited the acute and chronic effects of stress and overwork as one of their top three health and safety concerns. Yet nurses continue to be pushed harder -- with more than two-thirds reporting that they work some type of unplanned overtime every month.

  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program offers guidelines designed to shift hospital administrators' focus from expensive, short-sighted recruitment efforts to meaningful retention strategies. Hospitals that have been designated as "magnets" have been found in studies to attract and retain professional nurses who experienced a high degree of professional and personal satisfaction through their practice. Currently, 22 hospitals and long-term care facilities in Florida have been awarded "magnet" recognition, but the essential "magnet" criteria can be used by nurses and administrators to assess their own facilities for improvements.

  • A study conducted by the Nursing Credentialing Research Coalition found that certification has a dramatic impact on the personal, professional and practice outcomes of certified nurses. Overall, nurses in the study stated that certification enabled them to experience fewer adverse events and errors in patient care than before they were certified. Additional results revealed that certified nurses:


    • Expressed more confidence in detecting early signs of complications;

    • Reported more personal growth and job satisfaction;

    • Believed they were viewed as credible providers;

    • Received high patient satisfaction ratings;

    • Reported more effective communication and collaboration with other health care providers; and

    • Experienced fewer disciplinary events and work-related injuries.