West Virginia Center for Nursing releases 2020 data as part of efforts to strengthen state’s nursing workforce

CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Center for Nursing has released Registered Nurse (RN) and Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse (APRN) supply data for 2020. This information will allow the state to assess the strength of West Virginia’s nursing workforce and inform stakeholders as they continue planning around nursing workforce development. 

“The Center aggregates these data on a yearly basis and has developed a consistent timeline for its collection and dissemination that will be used going forward,” says Gerald Bragg, chair of the West Virginia Center for Nursing Board of Directors. “This information provides the public and stakeholders with vital information about the current state of nursing in West Virginia and offers areas where we can improve.”

West Virginia currently licenses 34,215 RNs and 4,318 APRNs. Of those licensees, 21,374 RNs and 2,629 APRNs report working in West Virginia. This data set primarily focuses on nurses licensed in West Virginia who work in the state. The Center plans to work on data sharing agreements with licensing boards in other states that will allow future data sets to reflect nurses who are licensed in other states but working in West Virginia.

Through its collaboration with the West Virginia RN Board, the Center aggregated data and created Tableau Data Dashboards that are available for public use. These dashboards provide information on nurses working in the state as it relates to basic demographics, education levels, employment status, employment settings, employment specialties, employment locations, and additional details.

Key takeaways from the new data include the following:

  • Of those nurses working in the state, 38% (6,904) of RNs and 29% (679) of APRNs are 50 years of age or older.

What this means: As experienced nurses enter retirement, state workforce planners will be faced with the need to replace these experienced nurses to meet demand. One-quarter of all nurses working in the state have over 25 years of nursing experience. Loss of knowledge and its impact on quality of care will need to be considered as nurses begin to retire.

  • Over 86% of all licensed nurses in West Virginia are working full time in nursing, with 7% working part time, and 6% working per diem or on an as-needed basis in nursing. Less than 0.5% of nurses licensed in the state are employed in fields outside of nursing. Approximately 7% of nurses hold two or more nursing positions.

What this means: As the nursing population ages and large numbers of nurses begin to retire, replacement of full-time workers will be essential.

  • Of those nurses who have indicated they are unemployed (3.3% of all licensees), only 0.3% of nurses cite that they are unemployed because they have difficulty locating a nursing position or because of inadequate salary.

What this means: There is likely not a surplus of nurses in the state, and the vast majority of nurses who want a job can obtain one.

  • More than 20% of nurses licensed in West Virginia live in the contiguous states of PA, OH, VA, KY, and MD.

What this means: The state should consider additional ways to retain nurses in West Virginia.

To view the RN and APRN Tableau Data Dashboards and the Center’s other data sets, visit https://wvcenterfornursing.org/data-reports/.

The West Virginia Center for Nursing, which is housed within the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission, leads strategies to support the education, recruitment, and retention of nurses in West Virginia.