Study shows emerging trends in supply, demand of nurses in the Greater Cincinnati health care market.

Cincinnati, OH – A recent study produced by The Greater Cincinnati Health Council (GCHC) shows new nursing school graduates are making up a larger percentage of nurses hired in our region while the number of retiring experienced nurses is also growing.

The biennial study gathers data on the region’s supply and demand of nurses, measured by current nursing faculty, student admission and retention, current nursing work force and hospital demand for nurses.

Key Findings:

More new nursing graduates were hired in 2013 and 2014
Record numbers of new graduate nurses were hired in 2012 and 2013 with new graduates representing more than 40 percent of all nurses being hired. This is an increase from 2010 and 2011, in which fewer than 30 percent of all nurses hired were new graduates.

Retirements have also increased in the last year. The 2013 RN retirement rate jumped to 0.93 percent, up from 0.77 percent in 2011 and 0.51 percent in 2010. Retirements are expected to increase in future years – more than 17 percent of the region’s RNs are age 55 and older.

With the increased hires of new graduates, more than 30 percent of all nurses are between the ages of 25-34, and there are now more nurses in that age group than any other age group.

Education levels among current nurses are increasing
The number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees increased to 50 percent in 2014, up from 43 percent in 2012 and 33 percent in 2008. The number of nurses with master’s degrees climbed to 20 percent in 2014, up from 8 percent in 2012 and only 3 percent in 2008.

Mary Irvin, Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at TriHealth, says this may be due to a 2011 report on the Future of Nursing from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which recommended hospitals work to increase the proportion of registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to 80 percent by 2020.

“Current research supports this recommendation by establishing evidence that reveals lower complication rates and mortality rates in hospitals that have a higher percentage of registered nurses with higher degrees,” she said. “Many hospitals in our region are looking to hire nurses with a BSN as the minimal education for acute care in hospitals.”

The study also found that medical/surgical and critical care nurses continue to be the specialty areas with the highest demand, and these positions remain the most difficult to fill.

Recent changes to the new National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) standards are affecting pass rates
In December 2012, The National Council of State Boards of Nursing voted to raise the passing standard for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) examination effective April 2013. The impact of these new pass rate standards has resulted in a downward trend in pass rates on the first attempt, in both Greater Cincinnati and across the nation. In 2006, 89 percent of local graduates passed the NCLEX Examination on the first attempt. However 2014 recorded a new low of only 81 percent of local graduates having passed the NCLEX Examination on the first attempt. The national pass rate, which historically has hovered just under 90 percent, also saw a sharp decrease to 83 percent.

Karen Bankston, Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, Partnership, and Community Engagement at University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, says that critical thinking skills contribute to passing the NCLEX examination.

“Our community health benefits from baccalaureate prepared nurses. Students get more critical thinking and problem solving opportunities in their junior and senior years. With more students pursuing a BSN, they’ll get the critical thinking component that is so crucial to not only the exam but overall success in the profession,” said Bankston.

The Nursing Supply and Demand study is produced to assist Greater Cincinnati health care organizations in projecting the future nursing work force requirements, recognizing the critical role nurses will continue to have in the health of the Greater Cincinnati population through promotion of health, prevention of disease and provision of quality care.

“Nurses are a critical component to advancing regional health goals,” said Tonda Francis, MSN, RN, Vice President of the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. “The health care landscape continues to change both regionally and nationally in response to new economic and policy factors. It is imperative that we capture these changes through the Nursing Supply and Demand study so that we can meet the health needs of our community for generations to come.”

Hospital and school survey data were collected between September 2014 and December 2014 with supply and demand estimates supplemented from other GCHC sources including the Annual Vacancy/Turnover/Age Survey.

Hospitals that participated in the study include: The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Highland District Hospital, Margaret Mary Health, Summit Behavioral Healthcare, TriHealth, and UC Health.

Nursing schools that participated in the study include: The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Galen College of Nursing, Gateway Community and Technical College, Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science, Miami University, Mount St. Joseph University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College, and Xavier University.

For more information, please contact:
Shannan Schmitt, Director of Communications
(513) 307-0328