Toward standardization (part 1): assessment of state and national nursing workforce data sources

Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2010 Aug;11(3):173-83. doi: 10.1177/1527154410390521.


Despite concerns expressed over the past 25 years, little progress has been made in improving the accuracy, availability, and timeliness of national data on the U.S. nursing workforce. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we review the current national data sources on nurse supply, demand, and education programs. We discuss the advantages that state-level data collection efforts enjoy in many states and propose that national data sets could be easily and cost-effectively built from state-level contributions-if states collected a standardized set of information. As part of a larger effort to standardize state-level data, from July to December 2008, we analyzed surveys and codebooks from 26 states collecting nurse workforce data. We present the results of this data assessment and conclude that data collection practices as of 2008 varied substantially from state to state. Creation and adoption of standardized minimum nursing workforce data sets is suggested to bring states into alignment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / standards
  • Humans
  • Nursing*
  • United States
  • Workforce