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Show Me the Nursing Shortage: Location Matters in Missouri Nursing Shortage

      Background

      Across the United States, data show that nursing shortages exist in many parts of the country.

      Purpose

      This descriptive research study seeks to identify nursing shortage and nurse age differences by county in Missouri and aims to determine whether the distribution of nurses is even across rural and urban areas.

      Methods

      Using nursing workforce data based on licensed nurses, geographic mapping was performed to show nurse distribution and age cohorts at the county level in Missouri. The number of nurses per 10,000 residents was the ratio used to show nursing population density by county.

      Results

      Eleven metropolitan, 4 micropolitan, and 12 rural counties had the lowest ratio of nurses to 10,000 population at 18 to 49. By comparison, 2 metropolitan, 2 micropolitan, and 0 rural areas had the highest ratio at 198 to 327. There were several counties in which 42% to 58% of nurses were older than 54 years.

      Conclusion

      There is a disparity in both the number of nurses and the age of nurses in metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural areas. Understanding the factors that contribute to differential nurse practice patterns by geographic regions in states such as Missouri is essential to inform nursing policy and craft workforce solutions.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      Lori Scheidt, MBA-HCM, is the Executive Director, Missouri State Board of Nursing, Jefferson City, Missouri.

      Biography

      Anne Heyen, DNP, RN, CNE, is the President, Missouri State Board of Nursing, and Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri- Columbia.

      Biography

      Tracy Greever-Rice, PhD, is the Director, Center for Health Policy, and Assistant Research Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia.