Factors Associated with Rural-Residing Registered Nurses' Choices to Work in Urban Locations and Larger Rural Cities

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2007
Project completed:
December 2012

The WWAMI RHRC's analyses of more than two decades of data from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) show that between 1980 and 2004, increasing percentages of registered nurses (RNs) commuted from their rural residences to jobs in larger rural or urban areas (14% of rural RNs commuted in 1980 vs. 37% in 2004). This occurred despite the fact that the proportion of RNs living in rural areas increased.

This study will explore RN and community factors that may be associated with decisions to commute from rural areas of residence to work in less rural areas.

At the RN-level, we will examine demographic, education, employment and wage characteristics of the RNs who commute outside of their residence with those who do not. At the community-level, we will examine the health care facility and economic profiles of the areas in which the commuting RNs work and reside. In addition, we will compare RN commuting characteristics and associated individual and community factors in different regions of the country and across different types of rural areas (e.g., isolated small rural areas). Secondary datasets to be used include the 2004 National Sample Survey of RNs, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Area Resource File, the Economic Research Service County Typology Codes, Claritas population data, and the Rural-Urban Commuting Areas.

A working paper and policy brief of findings will be produced, as well as a manuscript for submission to a peer reviewed journal. Findings will be presented to relevant policy and research audiences.