Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Public Health Colleagues!

Dorene Hersh, Chief of Nursing

Dorene Hersh, Chief of Nursing

As you have read in the year-end email communications from our leadership, Public Health has had an exceptionally productive year.  On July 1st, the Nursing Office began our 4 year, 2.8 million dollar grant to prepare the next generation of ambulatory care nurses.  We are leveraging the work of this grant across the department to support the training and development of our nursing and medical assistant staff. Look for more information and sharing of this resource in 2019 and beyond.

Thank you for another year serving the residents of King County.  We have the privilege of working in this amazing organization, making a difference in the lives of many.  I am very proud to support you in the care you provide to our community.  Have a safe, happy and healthy 2019.

The Washington Center for Nursing has just released their nursing workforce report. It made me curious to know what our internal statistics were in comparison.  I’ve highlighted interesting data from the report below, with our data at the end of this blog post.   

Washington Center for Nursing Releases a Comprehensive

Workforce Report

The Washington Center for Nursing has captured the voices of 9,214 nurses from all corners of the state in the new report, “Washington State’s Registered Nurse Workforce: Results of a 2018 Survey.” The effort reflects WCN’s chief strategic priorities: attaining stronger data about the nursing workforce, promoting diversity within the profession, and sensing academic progression trends of RNs, as the report not only shows supply figures and demographics, but also how nurses feel about their current roles and their outlook for the future.
One key takeaway: RNs are quite satisfied with their jobs. Most (83% or more) RNs agreed with statements such as “My work gives me a feeling of accomplishment” and “I have opportunities at work to learn and grow.” However, long term-care nurses were less satisfied compared to nurses in other settings.

Click here to read the whole RN workforce report.

What do we know about Washington’s Registered Nurses?

The number of registered nurses with addresses in Washington State and hold active Washington licenses is 71,386 – up by 2,729 or 4.0% from 2016. That translates to about 977 registered nurses per 100,000 people in Washington.

The average age of RNs has gone down from 47.1 two years ago to 45.7 today. The number of male RNs continues climbing and is at 11.9%, a slight increase from 11.3% in 2016.

RNs are distributed in rural and urban areas fairly similarly to the overall population: 6.1% of RNs are in rural settings, compared to 8.3% of the state population.

What do we know about Licensed Practical Nurses?

The number of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) continues to decline. Currently, Washington has 9,859 LPNs with Washington addresses, which has dwindled each year since reaching a peak of 13,751 in 2008. In 2018, this translates to about 135 LPNs per 100,000 people in Washington. Licensed Practical Nurses perform a variety of tasks under the supervision of a registered nurse. They oversee basic care, such as administering medicine and injections and taking vital signs. Although many stay in licensed practical nursing throughout their career, many LPNs want to move on to registered nursing.

LPNs, like RNs, are distributed in rural and urban areas similar to the overall population: 7.6% of LPNs have addresses in Washington’s rural areas, home to 8.3% of Washingtonians, compared to just over 92.4% of LPNs in urban areas, where 91.7%of the state’s population lives.

The percentage of LPNs who are male is 13.6 percent, staying roughly the same since 2014.

What do we know about Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners?

The ARNP license category in Washington includes certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), certified nurse midwives (CNM), clinical nurse specialists (CNS), and nurse practitioners (ARNP).

The number of ARNPs licensed in Washington with in-state addresses continues to climb steadily, reaching 5,981 today, from 2,835 in 2006. That is an increase from 50 ARNPs per 100,000 Washington population in 2006 to about 82 per 100,000 in 2018.

The average age of ARNPs in Washington was 47.7 years in 2018, and has been declining in the past 10 years as younger ARNPs enter the workforce. Male ARNPs increased slightly to 15.3% in 2018 from 14.5% in 2016. About 6% of ARNPs have rural addresses compared with 8.3% of the state population.

How does Public Health Seattle-King County compare?  Here are our 2018 statistics for workgroups with 10 or more:

Community Health Services
Job Class Average Age
RN 49.4
PHN 46.6
ARNP 47.3
Jail Health Services
Job Class Average Age
LPN (all) 49.2
RN KCCF 41.6
RN MRJC 49.5
ARNP 45.6
Job Class Average Age
PHN 41

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