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10 Fun Facts About Nurses for National Nurses Week

May 7, 2017

It’s National Nurses Week! To celebrate the week and recognize nurses working in the many areas of the healthcare profession, we thought we’d share these fun facts about nurses:


1. There are about as many nurses in the U.S. as there are people in Los Angeles: There are over 4 million professionally active nurses in the U.S. Roughly three quarters are registered nurses (RNs), and the remaining quarter are licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Additionally, there are over 100,000 nurse practitioners. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nurses also comprise the largest segment of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care.


2. Nurses aren’t just in hospitals: About 62 percent of employed registered nurses work in hospitals. Nurses also work in physicians’ offices and clinics, public health, home health, research labs, military bases and war zones, health IT (we have a few nurses on the team at Spok!), and many other areas.



3. Nursing is the most trusted profession: Nurses have been at the top of Gallup’s annual honesty/ethics poll since 2001. In the most recent survey in 2016, 84 percent of respondents rated nurses as very high or high when it comes to being honest and ethical.



4. Nursing is one of the top-ranked occupations: U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs are ranked on their ability to offer a mix of positive qualities. These jobs pay well, are challenging, and offer room to advance and provide a satisfying work-life balance. Several nursing positions ranked in the top 25, including nurse practitioner (#2), nurse anesthetist (#6), nurse midwife (#15), and registered nurse (#22).


5. Nursing has one of the fastest job growth rates: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16 percent growth rate for registered nurses from 2014 to 2024—much higher than for other professions.



6. Nurses walk—a lot: A study found that nurses walk an average of 4-5 miles during a 12-hour shift. Most Americans walk just 2.5-3 miles during the course of an 18-hour day!



7. Nurses are getting younger: A RAND Corporation / Vanderbilt / Dartmouth study showed a 62 percent increase in the number of 23- to 26-year-olds who became RNs between 2002 and 2009, a growth rate not seen in this age group since the 1970s. As demographics in the profession shift, nurses of all generations—from Boomers to Millennials—have to work together effectively.


8. Nurses are increasing their tech savvy to improve patient care: Sixty-seven percent of nurses agree that technology skills are essential to staying relevant in healthcare, and 46 percent say they see their role changing due to increased involvement with information systems.



9. Nursing informatics is on the rise: Over half of healthcare organizations have a CNIO/Nursing Informatics executive, an 82 percent increase from 2011.




10. National Nurses Week has been celebrated for over 40 years: Efforts to have a week dedicated to nurses began in the 1950s, but wasn’t formally designated by the White House until President Nixon issued a proclamation in 1974. Each year, National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on May 12—Florence Nightingale’s birthday!



Let’s keep the celebration of National Nurses Week going! Watch the video from our Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Nat’e Guyton, RN, MSN, CPHIMS, NE-BC, to learn why she became a nurse and her favorite clinical department.

Then, if you’re a nurse, tell us YOUR story on Facebook by answering the two questions Dr. Guyton asks in the video. The two nurses whose Facebook posts generate the most likes will each win an Amazon Echo®!


From all of us at Spok, a big thank you to all of the nurses out there for everything you do!


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