Did you know these 5 facts about nursing?

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Have you ever wondered how many nurses make up the entire country’s population? Or which country provides the U.S. with the most nurses? We’ve rounded up the answers below.

1. Nurses could take over a country…hypothetically. Nurses who actively work in nursing in the United States make up 0.76 percent of the U.S. population. That’s about the entire population of the country of Latvia.

2. Nurses go northeast. The highest concentration of RNs in the United States is in New England, with approximately 1,107 RNs per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the Pacific region has the lowest ration, with only 645 RNs per 100,000 people. Obviously, it’s not the weather calling to the nurses.

3. Nurses come from all over. About 3.5 percent of RNs who are licensed to work in the United States were educated outside of the U.S. The country that provides the U.S. with the most nurses? The Philippines.

4. Nurses find other uses for their expertise. Almost 17 percent of RNs in the United States are not working in nursing. One possibility is that they left nursing to work in less stressful occupations (Bomb squad? Air traffic controller?) where burnout is less common.

5. The profession is strong. National statistics claim that the unemployment rate for RNs is lower than 2 percent. If so, then why are so many nurses looking for work? Tell us your theory.



Marijke Durning

Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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5 Responses to Did you know these 5 facts about nursing?

  1. I’ve been a registered nurse for over twenty years; prior to that I worked in a steel plant. Prior to that, I served in the US Army. Believe it or not, nursing is by far more stressful than either of my two previous occupations, but that is not what makes nursing so difficult.

    Most nurses handle stressful moments remarkably well. It’s not stress that makes nursing a difficult job–it’s the nastiness.

    It would astound many people to realize how many rude, nasty, angry, misanthropic people working within health-care.

    There are myriads of doctors, managers, and charge nurses that are miserable and they abuse their authority as a license to be rude.

    These are the people who can hate with a smile, and tell you to “have a nice day” with the emotional tone of “go to hell.” There are some that don’t even pretend to be nice anymore, and look for opportunities to lash out.

    I understand that it’s a tough world out there, and work is a four letter word, but I have never experienced such viciousness or abject nastiness anywhere like I have experienced within the health care system.

    It’s ironic that in a field where people are trained to care for others that there is so much animosity and vitriol, but nurses work within an emotionally hostile environment. I don’t know why this is so, but it has been my unfortunate experience for many years.

    Certainly there are exceptions to the rule. Fortunately for me, in my current place of employment, things are not so bad, but I have worked within many other setting where the work situation was deplorable..

    • kjkamk

      Nicely put. I like to frequently think “Can’t we all just get along?!?!?!”

  2. JoAnna Lowe

    You are so right. You hit it smack dab in the nose. Even when I feel that at the place I am currently working as an LPN I have noticed that the emotional hostility rises to almost an unbearable level. The environment that the other administration, nurses, and co-workers place on each other is the worse part of the job. I LOVE being a nurse. I LOVE caring for my patients, but I really don’t know how much they will actually pick up when you have a co-worker that is having a emotional drama scene. It’s really sad that those of us who are trying to help others can’t even help our own kind because of fear of retribution or ‘pay back’.

  3. Nurse Rene

    You all are totally correct about the non-clinical stress being the worst part of the job.
    One of my brothers is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy (a jet-jockey) who said this: ‘Nurses in a hospital are like Chiefs in the Navy. They RUN the place. Any officer/doctor who is SMART knows this and has the good sense to let them know what needs to be done and THEN Get The Hell Out of Their Way!”
    I always thought that the best management ‘style’ was just what he described. Give me what I need to do the job and either Lead, Follow or Get The Hell Out of the Way!

  4. Abby

    Maybe so many nurses are looking for a job because the Northeast region has so many nursing schools. My theory is that the students in these schools tend to look for jobs where their school was (thinking that clinicals at a specific hospital will count towards experience?). Maybe if they all moved out west and evened out the nurse to population ratio, they would find jobs. Just my theory.

    However, I do not talk from experience because I live in the Northeast and am only in nursing school. Anybody know if there are jobs in the Pacific region or if they are keeping that ratio static?