The impact of the economy on employment levels of registered nurses
Smith, Sheila Donnaud
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This purpose of this study was to conduct rigorous tests using yearly RN employment data across a thirty-year period to identify the best model of RN employment levels in Texas. The impact of the economy on employment levels of RNs was then explored. The number of RNs reporting employment in nursing in the state of Texas between 1971 and 2000 was correlated with the Texas Gross State Product (TGSP) during the same period of time to discover the relationship between the two variables. Examination of dynamic patterns occurring over time help explain past and predict future RN employment levels. This process facilitates identification of cycles that can be used to help predict supply. The data were collected from published reports from the Board of Nurse Examiners and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The data were then examined using time series analysis and an appropriate ARIMA model identified. Defining a model that is an accurate predictor of the supply of RNs will be beneficial to nursing and to the health care industry in the development of public health policy, educational programs, and recruitment and retention programs. This study supports the procyclic view of RN employment and the economy. Therefore, when the economy is growing, more RNs in Texas would be expected to enter or remain in the workforce. When the economy is not growing, fewer RNs would enter the workforce resulting in less growth in number of employed RNs. This study found TGSP predicts number of employed RNs during the same year and for one year following. This information adds to the knowledge base being constructed about the RN workforce.