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NEARLY HALF OF CT-LICENSED NURSES DON’T WORK IN CONNECTICUT. NEED FOR NURSES EXCEEDS WORKFORCE SUPPLY BASED ON RETIREMENTS AND WORKING CONDITIONS.
Both COVID restrictions and a decrease in available clinical placements needed by RN and LPN students to graduate encumbers the expansion of nursing schools in Connecticut and nationwide.
A new analysis by the Connecticut Data Collaborative and the Center for Nursing Workforce reveals that of the 86,483 nurses that have a current license in Connecticut, only about half that number - 44,086 - are actively practicing in Connecticut.
Of that number, 36,953 are registered nurses (RN) and 7,130 are licensed practical nurses (LPN). Of the 42,397 who are licensed but not actively practicing in Connecticut, approximately 20% practice in another state, with the highest number working in New York (1,297), Massachusetts (918), and Florida (591).
The data indicates that 7,917 nurses are age 60 or older, while only 4,390 are under age 30. The data also shows that RNs and LPNs in Connecticut have an overall median age of 47. RNs are most likely to be in the 50-59 age band, while LPNs are most likely to be in the 30-39 age band.
“An alarm bell should be ringing. Connecticut does not have nearly the number of younger nurses needed to replace those who will be retiring within this decade. We must monitor and act on these data and current trends, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Marcia Proto, M.Ed, CAS, Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nursing Workforce (CCNW) and the Connecticut League for Nursing (CLN). “We really haven’t moved the needle on what needs to be done.”
In the state workforce, the majority of nurses identified as White (75%), followed by Black (12%) and Hispanic or Latino (6%).* Overall, there were 40,401 responses (33,920 RNs and 6,481 LPNs) to the race and ethnicity data survey question.
“This is what informed, data-based decision-making is all about. The data revealed by this project is clearly important as it impacts public health, education and jobs, and the partnership forged between CCNW and CTData reaffirms both organizations’ commitments to make data easily accessible and encourages stakeholders to use the data for action and strengthen their strategies,” said Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative.
The Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) is a public-private partnership that advocates for the public availability of open and accessible data, serving nonprofits, advocates,
policymakers, community groups, and funders in using data to drive policy and improve programs and services, budgeting and decision making at the state, regional and local levels.
Of the RNs actively practicing in Connecticut, 55% have earned a baccalaureate degree, 20% have earned a master’s degree and 2% have earned a doctoral degree. Among LPNs, who are not required to obtain an associate’s or baccalaureate degree, 18% have earned an associate’s, 7% a baccalaureate and 1% a master’s degree. LPNs are required to graduate from a state-approved certificate program and pass a national licensing exam to receive their LPN license.
Only about 1 in 4 LPNs have pursued higher education after receiving their license, which points to one of the workforce challenges facing Connecticut. Among students pursing nursing, 66% of those in RN programs are White and 23% are Black or Hispanic. The numbers are substantially different in LPN programs, where 51% of students are Black, 20% are Hispanic and 17% are White. Many individuals who have earned an LPN, and who might otherwise be interested in advancing to RN, are unable to do so because of their own limited financial resources or the limited availability of slots in RN programs in Connecticut. That prevents the state from achieving greater diversity among RNs and limits the total number of RNs working in Connecticut, in a variety of healthcare settings, amidst increasing need.