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The State of Nursing in Nevada


Nevada needs more nurses. With significantly fewer nurses than average, many employers throughout the state are in need of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates and Registered Nurses (RNs) at all levels. Nevada’s nursing schools are addressing the demand for new nurses somewhat, but the number of nursing graduates each year remains about the same. The state not only needs more nursing professionals but also those with more education. Additional BSN graduates are needed to serve the patient population and meet continued goals for improving healthcare as a whole.

Nevada’s Nursing Shortage

Nevada’s shortage of nurses is significant, but concerted efforts within the state to recruit new students and attract more nurses are starting to bear fruit. In 2000, the state had just 514 RNs for every 100,000 Nevada residents, compared with an average of 780 nationally, according to a report by the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau. Five years later, this figure increased to 548. Rural areas fared the worst, with only 337 RNs per 100,000 residents in 2005. As of 2012, Nevada ranked 49th in the United States for employed nurses per capita, a slight improvement over the 2000 rank of 50th. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reported in 2012 that Nevada graduated, on average, 29.5 new nurses for every 100,000 working-age residents in 2010. While more nurses are entering Nevada’s workforce each year, there is still an urgent need to replace retiring nurses and others who leave the state.

There is also a faculty shortage affecting nursing schools. Without more nurses who can teach courses to future nurses, Nevada’s shortage will likely continue. Students interested in careers in nursing education may find plenty of opportunity to stay in their home state, since many faculty positions remain vacant and demand is strong for qualified professionals. Some jobs stay vacant for years as schools search for suitable candidates with the right combination of clinical skills and education. The average age of a nursing faculty member in Nevada in 2015 was 51 years, according to an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) report. Professors, on average, are 62 years old. Some of these faculty members may decide to retire in the coming years, opening these jobs to nurses who want to teach and mentor new nurses at the state’s nursing schools.

Diversity in the Workforce

Throughout the state, many nursing programs are striving for a diverse student body and trying to encourage more minorities to choose the nursing profession. A more diverse workforce may more accurately represent the diversity of the state’s population as a whole. Patients may be more likely to receive care from a team that understands their needs and background if individual healthcare settings begin to reflect the diversity of their communities.

In Nevada, 51 percent of bachelor-level students in 2015 were members of minority groups. Men represented 20 percent of bachelor’s degree students. Of the master’s program students, 31 percent were minorities, and 15 percent were men. In all, minorities represented 49 percent of nursing students, and 19 percent of the total student population was male.

Opportunities for Nevada Nurses

Overall, the state has a wealth of opportunities for nursing graduates. A variety of nursing jobs and career paths are available for caring and ambitious professionals. Nevada’s robust nursing education programs offer preparation that may help students obtain excellent jobs within the state. A nursing shortage is contributing to the increased demand and need for more nurses in a variety of different care settings and specialties.

As of 2016, just over 90 percent of recent graduates who took the NCLEX-RN exam received their licenses, according to the AACN. Passing this exam is necessary before graduates can receive licenses and begin to practice nursing. Students are benefiting from their education, but more people are still needed in many of these programs.

Nursing schools and employers in Nevada need more graduates in order to provide patients with the quality care they need. The state’s low number of nurses per capita is motivating many employers and government agencies to find ways to educate and recruit more students. Diversity may help nursing teams offer better care to their patients; in response, many nursing schools are striving for greater diversity in their recruitment. Consequently, there are opportunities for members of minority groups, men, and others interested in nursing. Nursing in Nevada is a growing profession that strives to improve care for the state’s residents and reduce healthcare disparities among its rural and underserved populations.

Learn more about the Nevada State RN to BSN online program.


Sources:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Nevada Nursing Education at a Glance, Fall 2015

Nevada State Board of Nursing: Annual Report 2015 — 2016

American Nurses Association: Fast Facts — The Nursing Workforce 2014: Growth, Salaries, Education, Demographics & Trends

Nevada State Legislature: The Affordable Care Act: Fiscal Analysis, Legal, and Research Divisions

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The U.S. Health Workforce — State Profiles: Nevada

Nevada State Legislature: Research Brief on Shortage of Health Care Workers


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