How States Can Develop Better Nursing Workforce Data Systems

The Issue: Efforts to create state-level nursing workforce data systems are frequently hindered by a lack of funding, organizational barriers and analytical challenges. This second brief, in a series of three, identifies techniques to address common logistical and organizational obstacles to creating a system.

Why It Matters:

  • Given the rapid pace of health system change and the increased interest in workforce issues, many states are investigating methods to develop or enhance state-level health workforce data systems.
  • Many states do not currently collect or analyze nursing workforce data beyond what is required for licensure and regulation. And while licensure bodies collect the data required to regulate members of the nursing profession, they are not typically required to collect data for the purposes of workforce planning. Because of this, regulatory boards may not see data collection and analysis as their responsibility. They may also be unwilling or unable to bear the financial burden of adding basic questions about the demographic, practice and geographic characteristics of the workforce to licensure forms.
  • The organizational structure of nursing licensure boards differs from state to state. Some are independent entities, while others fall under the umbrella of state government. The organizational structure of the board can affect the willingness, ability and flexibility of the board to collect the data needed for health workforce analysis.

More from Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative

To support interdisciplinary studies that address critical knowledge gaps regarding causal linkages between nursing and health care quality and to synthesize, translate, and disseminate major findings to key stakeholders.

More from Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative