“Taking the Long View
to Build the Nation's
Nursing Workforce”


The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers is pleased to present National Nursing Workforce Minimum Datasets in the areas of nursing supply, nursing demand, and nursing education programs. These documents are intended to establish standardized data to be collected by each state as part of a larger effort to effectively quantify and address the country’s critical nursing shortage - which is expected to grow to between 340,000 and 1,000,000 Registered Nurse full-time equivalent vacancies by 2020.


States currently differ substantially in both the methods and metrics used for collecting nurse workforce data, making it impossible to produce an accurate national picture of the nursing shortage. Standardizing the collection of state-level nurse workforce data, and thereby creating a national repository of data, would enable state and national nurse workforce planners to more quickly and accurately implement best policy approaches to resolve the critical shortage. Additionally, state-level policy analysts would then possess a reliable way to benchmark progress in addressing the nursing shortage in their state and across the nation.

The minimum datasets were created through a rigorous process of consensus-building. The Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, provided financial support to supplement the in-kind contributions from each of the Forum subscribers. Special Forum workgroups drafted the datasets and conducted a public comment period, soliciting input from experts and representatives from national organizations, both public and private. By a process of voting, the Forum ratified the collaboratively-created datasets in September 2009.

The National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers believes adoption of the datasets will enhance our ability to plan for imbalances in nurse supply and demand, position us to course-correct in response to changing conditions, and, ultimately, improve healthcare for all Americans.

*Special thanks to the following Forum subscribers for their participation in the minimum dataset workgroups: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.