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  1. Malloch, Kathy PhD, MBA, RN
  2. Davenport, Sally MS, RN
  3. Hatler, Carol MS, RN


The goal of maintaining the balance between demand for nursing care and the supply of nurses is the basis for state and regional planning to meet future nursing workforce needs. Projecting nursing supply needs solely on the basis of historical registered nurse to population ratios does not specifically consider the healthcare needs of the population. The authors present a model in which state population data and nursing resource data are compared with national data to assist state planning groups in developing an effective workforce management plan. Integrating population demographic data, healthcare needs of citizens, and nurse resource factors at the state level can improve the accuracy of projection statistics.


Effective state organization, commission or task force planning to address the current and projected nursing shortage begins by ensuring that everyone involved understands the factors influencing population needs and nurse resources. Both national and state data are essential for evidence-based planning for several reasons. First, federal initiatives and funding are based on national demographics. Second, the categories used in national data analyses provide a template for states to compare demographics and nurse resources using similar categories. Third, most activities addressing nursing supply are at the state level. Data need to be state-specific. Not surprising, state demographics and nurse resources can vary widely from national statistics. State or local planning is best served using specific data that reflects the clinical needs and demographics of the state population.