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10 fun facts about nurses

November 21, 2019

As the nursing profession continues to evolve rapidly, and nurses take on more duties, adapt to changing technologies, and continuously confront the growing complexities of their roles, nurses are “changing our very notion of modern medicine and healthcare delivery.” These new demands have expanded the role and influence of nurses significantly.

Read on for ten interesting facts about this large and beloved segment of the healthcare industry.

10 fun facts about nurses

1. There are about as many nurses in the U.S. as there are people in Los Angeles: There are more than 3.8 million nurses. 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% 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 several nurses on the team at Spok and an awesome nursing advisory council!), 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 2019, 84% of respondents rated nurses as very high or high when it comes to being honest and ethical. Doctors were second (67%) and pharmacists third (66%).

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 anesthetist (#5), nurse practitioner (#7), nurse midwife (#16), and registered nurse (#19).

5. Nursing has one of the fastest job growth rates: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% growth rate for registered nurses from 2018 to 2028—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% 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.

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% say they see their role changing due to increased involvement with information systems.

Use technology more effectively: Read 5 Ways to Streamline Nursing Workflows

9. Nursing informatics as a specialty is on the rise: Over half of healthcare organizations have a CNIO/Nursing Informatics executive, an 82% 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!

  1. Read our free eBook— Nursing: 3 Ways to Enhance Workflows for Nurses with an Enterprise Healthcare Communications Platform

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By Katie Cornwell, MSN, NNP-BC, CNS, Director of Clinical and Product Marketing
Katie Cornwell is the director of clinical marketing at Spok. She has over 20 years of experience in the clinical, medical device, and healthcare IT fields. Katie has worked at the bedside as a neonatal and pediatric critical care nurse, nurse practitioner, and clinical nurse specialist. Prior to joining Spok, Katie also held roles in medical device product management and in healthcare IT product management and marketing. She earned her BSN from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Masters NNP and CNS degrees from Duke University. Connect with Katie on LinkedIn.