Clinical Rounds

January 2011 
Volume 41  Number 1
Pages 21 - 23
  PDF Version Available!

The nursing workforce is growing, both in numbers and in diversity, according to recently released results from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Here are some survey highlights. * The United States has more RNs than ever, about 3,063,163. This is a 5% increase from 2004 to 2008. * Half of RNs have a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing or a nursing-related field. * Among RNs beginning their careers, almost 34% have a bachelor's degree, up from 31% in 2004. The most commonly reported initial nursing education is still an associate degree in nursing (45%). * About 85% of RNs are in active practice-the highest percentage since the survey began in 1980-and 63% are working full time. This is the first increase in full-time employment since 1996. * Female RNs outnumber male RNs by 15 to 1, but the ratio falls to 10 to 1 among RNs licensed after 1990. * White, non-Hispanic nurses make up 83% of RNs, a decrease from 2004 when this group comprised 88% of RNs. * The number of RNs with advanced degrees has increased significantly: 404,163 in 2008 versus 275,068 in 2000. * The average age of RNs appears to be stabilizing at about 47 after many years of sharp increases.For more information, visit the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration website at http://bhpr.hrsa/gov/healthworkforce/rnsurvey .Older patients who survive severe sepsis have "substantial" risk of developing new cognitive and functional impairments. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims data from 516 older adults, average age 77, who survived 623 hospitalizations for severe sepsis between 1998 and 2005. They compared these claims with a sample of claims from a similar population of older adults who'd been hospitalized for conditions other than sepsis. Researchers found that "severe sepsis in this older population was independently associated with substantial and persistent new cognitive impairment and functional disability among survivors." They noted that this resulted in a "pivotal

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