The State of the Nursing Workforce in New Jersey

Findings from a Statewide Survey of Registered Nurses

It is estimated that by 2020, the supply of registered nurses (RNs) in New Jersey will be 49 percent below demand, resulting in a shortfall of 42,400 full-time RN positions throughout the state. The author conducted a survey to better understand the characteristics and motivations of this workforce, completed by approximately 25 percent of all RNs licensed in New Jersey.

The results reveal the aging nature of the respondents—54.4 percent were between 46 and 60 years of age. A not surprising 96.5 percent of the nurses were female, and more than 70 percent of all respondents were White, non-Hispanic. The proportion of foreign-educated nurses was found to be three times higher in this state than the number reported nationwide, with the Philippines being the largest source. Survey results also revealed that RNs who provide direct patient care, experience frequent and chronic exposure to verbal abuse, complaints and work-related injuries. A total of 53 percent of respondents reported that there were not enough RNs in their institution to provide quality patient care, and more than 40 percent of nurses perceived lack of support from frontline nursing managers. Almost one in four were dissatisfied with their jobs. Strategies are needed to improve the situation for the nursing workforce in New Jersey.