Lack of geographic mobility among nurses hurts access

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Lack of geographic mobility among nurses hurts access
Lack of geographic mobility among nurses hurts access
Nurses' lack of mobility — the relationship between where they received training and where they ultimately end up making their living — can lead to recruiting challenges, a study finds. This has the biggest implications for people living in rural areas, where there are already more problems with access to care, experts say.

Nursing homes and hospitals located in rural areas have a tough time recruiting registered nurses due to a relative lack of training centers, experts contend. Therefore, healthcare providers must rely heavily on locally trained registered nurses. This lack of geographic mobility is higher in nursing than for most other professions, according to researchers from New York University's College of Nursing.

According to the study, which was published in December's Health Affairs, More than half (53%) of newly licensed RNs work within 40 miles of where they attended high school. Among RNs with bachelor's degrees, 62% of those  aged 20 to 39 live in their state of birth, compared with 57% of comparable professionals in other fields.

Additionally, around two-thirds of RNs surveyed by NYU investigators were working within 100 miles of where they grew up.

“Given the strong tendency for nurses to practice close to where they attended nursing school and to attend nursing school near where they graduated high school, it's not surprising that parts of the country with few or no schools of nursing are struggling to find nurses,” said Christine Kovner, Ph.D., RN.
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