1. Williams, Kimberly A. DNSc, RN
  2. Stotts, R. Craig DrPH, RN
  3. Jacob, Susan R. PhD, RN
  4. Stegbauer, Cheryl C. PhD, RN
  5. Roussel, Linda DSN, RN
  6. Carter, Donna MSN, RN


Objective: This study seeks to provide an understanding of why inactive registered nurses chose to become inactive and what they would require for them to return to nursing.


Background: In 2000, a shortage of 110,000 (6%) registered nurses existed in the United States. If the current trends continue, the shortage is projected to grow to 29% by 2020. One solution to the nursing shortage may be attracting nurses with inactive licenses back into employment.


Methods: This study used a quantitative, cross-sectional survey design. Data analysis included descriptive and inferential statistics.


Results: Inactive nurses (N = 428) younger than 60 years in 1 Southern state were surveyed. A major portion (27.6%) of these nurses left nursing because of a conflict between parenting duties and scheduling requirements (13.5%) at work and indicated that they would return to nursing if given the opportunity to work part-time, especially if shifts were flexible and shorter.


Conclusion: Although the group of registered nurses younger than 60 years do not constitute a large percentage of nurses in this country, they are a potential source of alleviating, to some extent, the critical nursing shortage. Employers can encourage many of these nurses to return to work by providing more flexible work schedules, including part-time and shorter shifts, as well as decreased workloads.