Commuting to Work

When workers commute a long way to a job it costs them time and money and they may be less likely to remain at the job.

To determine how commuting time varies for registered nurses (RNs) in various settings these investigators examined two data sources: Census data on 105,000 RNs and a survey of newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs).

They computed average communing times for RNs living in urban, suburban, small town and rural settings. For NLRNs they calculated the distance between their home and primary place of employment using zip codes.

For working RNs, the mean self-reported time to travel to work was 25 minutes, comparable to other professional workers and those in other health professions. RNs in small towns had the highest average commute time (25.9 minutes) and those in rural areas the shortest (24 minutes).

The majority of NLRNs resided in metropolitan areas (82.1%), with fewer in suburban (10.4%) and small town or rural areas (5.9%). The difference in travel time, however, was striking for NLRNs and ranged from 20.4 minutes (metropolitan) to 55 minutes (small town and rural).

In general, RNs in hospitals had longer commutes than those working in nursing homes and other settings.