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US Nurses: National Nursing Survey Heading Your Way

Remember your research or evidence-based practice class?  Here is a great example of how nurses can help create evidence to shape workforce policy.

The American Nurses Association is moving in a new direction and conducting it first national nursing survey in cooperation with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

The survey will be conducted via a mailing through the U.S. Postal Service and via the web. It should reach potential respondents between Jan. 7 and Jan. 14.  All RNs in the U.S. with active RN licenses are eligible candidates for survey participation. A random sample of this population will be chosen to participate.

(Quiz: Why is random sampling important for this type of survey?  Write your responses in the comments!)

Nurses who receive the survey are strongly encouraged to provide information such as basic demographic and professional data (e.g., age, year licensed, etc.) even if they are now employed in another profession or are retired. All responses will be kept confidential, and data will only be reported in the aggregate.

(Quiz: Which part of good evidence does this represent?)

 The results of this survey are especially valuable in light of several factors. One is that no national source of current, complete, and consistent information for nursing workforce data exists, and this survey has the potential to fill that void. Also, the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will insure more than 30 million U.S. residents who will seek health care in the years ahead. Additionally, the aging U.S. population means there will be an increased demand for nursing services in the coming years. It is possible that the predicted shortfall of qualified nurses to care for this population will occur and will have a major impact on health care delivery in the future.

Some of the first national nursing surveys that created the evidence about the impact of nurse staffing ratios, the influence of RN levels of education, and quality of care came from data from only four states in the US.  Recent studies in Europe through the RN4CAST produced similar findings to those initial US studies.  All of this evidence has had a big impact on how nurses deliver care.  The ANA's national nursing survey is a great next step.

This is your opportunity to contribute to creating the evidence that can help improve your place of work, job satisfaction, and career opportunities.  It might even mean things like new policies around loan forgiveness and support for graduate education.

So, if you get a survey in the mail, take the time to respond.  It will make a big difference in the long run.  You can also support the ANA's work by becoming a member here: http://nursingworld.org/joinana.aspx. Your professional membership fee is tax deductible too!

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