Rural Nursing Workforce: Current Educational Characteristics and Options for Improvement

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2017
Project completed:
October 2019

Rural areas in the U.S. have fewer nurses per capita than urban areas, and those nurses are more likely to have associate's rather than bachelor's degrees. Given the Institute of Medicine's goal to raise the proportion of registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor's-level degrees to 80% by 2020, research is needed to examine the educational attainment of RNs across the U.S. and explore registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing (RN-to-BSN) program activities to attract, train and place nurse trainees in rural communities.


Publications

  • RN-to-BSN Programs: Challenges for Rural Nurse Education
    Policy Brief
    Rural and Minority Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2019
    To ascertain the status of rural-focused nursing education, we surveyed registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing (RN-to-BSN) programs. Using an American Association of Colleges of Nursing mailing list, surveys were mailed to all schools with RN-to-BSN programs. This report summarizes responses from the 237 that completed surveys.
  • Rural Registered Nurses: Educational Preparation, Workplace, and Salary
    Policy Brief
    Rural and Minority Health Research Center
    Date: 10/2019
    Using national data from census data from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample, this brief looks at the reported education levels and worksites of rural and urban registered nurses.
  • Rural-Urban Differences in Educational Attainment Among Registered Nurses: Implications for Achieving an 80% BSN Workforce
    Rural and Minority Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2020
    Our primary objective was to provide updated information on rural-urban differences in educational attainment. We also examined rural-urban differences in employment type, salary, and demographics among registered nurses in different practice settings.