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Trends in racial and ethnic demographics of the nursing workforce: 2000 to 2015

      Highlights

      • Over the last 15 years, racial and ethnic diversity has steadily increased in the nursing workforce.
      • Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) appears to be increasing faster than it is in the United States (U.S.) population.
      • Bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN)-prepared nurses continue to increase while a trend indicates Associate Degree (AS) nurses are leveling off.
      • Hispanic registered nurses (RNs) had the greatest increase in baccalaureate and graduate education from 2000 to 2015.

      Abstract

      Background

      The case for a more diverse nursing workforce has never been stronger given the rapidly changing demographics of the United States (U.S.) and the underrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic groups in nursing.

      Purpose

      The purpose of this paper is to examine how representation of ethnic and racial minority groups in the nursing workforce has changed over a 15-year period (2000–2015).

      Methods

      The American Community Survey (ACS) data files were used to examine patterns in ethnicity/race and education level in the registered nurse (RN) workforce. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square.

      Findings

      In the nursing workforce, minority groups are reaching higher levels of education. There has been a sharp increase in the number of baccalaureate graduates and a leveling-off of associate degree nurses.

      Discussion

      Nursing leaders are working collaboratively to increase the ethnic and racial diversity of the nursing workforce that is growing at a rate faster than that of the U.S. population as a whole.

      Keywords

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