The nations hospital-nurse workforce tends to grow much faster during economic downturns than it does during times of economic prosperity, and that trend has been more pronounced in the ongoing recession than at any time in the past three decades.
A study in Health Affairs says the hospital-nurse workforce grew by 8.6% between 2007 and 2008. That same cohort of workers shrank by 0.9% between 2004 and 2006. Since 1981, the hospital-nurse workforce has grown by an average of 1% during economic boom periods and by 5.3% during bust years, study authors Peter Buerhaus, David Auerbach and Douglas Staiger wrote. The study and several others were released Friday to coincide with a Washington nursing workforce conference put on by Health Affairs, the Center to Champion Nursing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP.