Title

Measuring the nursing workforce: Clarifying the definitions

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

12-1-2005

Abstract

Numerous articles have addressed the causes and implications of the current nursing shortage. Little has been published, however, about how to measure the nursing workforce. This article presents (1) a review of definitions for common workforce indicators such as vacancy and turnover rates and the relationship between these indicators and the need for nurses, (2) a review of the calculation of vacancy and turnover rates in several statewide and national surveys, and (3) the results from the development and pilot test of a health care workforce survey for use in Vermont. The review indicates that in practice, no standard method is used despite attempts to standardize the calculation of vacancy and turnover rates. The Vermont pilot study results demonstrate that a richer profile of the health workforce can be obtained by using both standard workforce measures and more subjective questions to assess a statewide need for nurses. © 2005 Sage Publications.

Publication Title

Medical Care Research and Review

Volume

62

Issue

6

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