Minnesota Registered Nurses Facts and Data 2006

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care asks Registered Nurses (RNs) to answer questions about their employment status and the nature of their practices each year when they renew their licenses. Response to the survey is voluntary and does not affect license renewal.

Urban-Rural Definitions

Old definitions. Nursing workforce data has previously been reported for “urban” and “rural” portions of the state. Urban has been defined to include seven Twin Cities metropolitan counties (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington) and the cities of Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud.

New definitions. For 2006, data is also reported for three groupings that focus greater attention on the 46 most rural counties:

Metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) counties – 21 Minnesota counties included in seven metropolitan statistical areas (Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth-Superior, Fargo, Grand Forks and La Crosse)

Micropolitan counties – 20 counties surrounding smaller urban centers of at least 10,000 people

Rural – 46 counties outside MSAs and Micropolitan areas

 In the data tables, shading distinguishes data reported under the old urban-rural definition from data reported under the new MSA-micropolitan-rural definition.

Numbers of Registered Nurses

As of June 2005, Minnesota had about 71,200 registered nurses. Some of these were retired or not working as RNs, and many lived or practiced in other states. About 61,300 licensed RNs had Minnesota mailing addresses.

Based on survey responses and licensing data from the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care estimates about 53,400 RNs were practicing at least part time at Minnesota practice sites in June 2006. For explanation of this estimate, see the methodological note at the end of this Web page.

Using the July 1, 2005, population estimate for Minnesota, 53,400 RNs equate to 1,040 active RNs per 100,000 people. Different data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces an estimate of 962 RNs per 100,000 people, compared to a national figure of 799 in May 2005. Minnesota ranked eighth in the number of RNs per capita.

All data reported below is for RNs who worked at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota at the time they completed the survey.

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Geographic Distribution  

  • A disproportionate number of registered nurses work in metropolitan and micropolitan areas, reflecting the distribution of larger hospitals.
  • Only 8 percent of RNs work in rural areas, even though rural counties account for 13 percent of the state’s population.

piechart of geographic distribution of RNs piechart of Minnesota population

 

 

% Population

% RNs

Urban (old definition)

58.6%

73.8%

Rural (old definition)

41.%

26.2%

 

 

 

Metropolitan counties

72.5%

79.7%

Micropolitan counties

14.7%

12.4%

Rural (new definition)

12.8%

7.9%

Population: July 1, 2005 county-level estimates by U.S. Census Bureau, except July1, 2004 estimates
for “old” urban and rural (2005 minor civil division estimates not available before late 2006).

Gender  

  • More than 93 percent of RNs are female.
  • Male RNs are somewhat more common in metropolitan area counties and urban areas,
    as well among younger age groups.

 

Respondents

% MALE

% FEMALE

All RNs

27,690

6.6%

93.4%

Under 35 years

5,122

6.7%

93.3%

35-44 years

6,000

8.7%

91.4%

45-54 years

9,758

6.3%

93.7%

55-64 years

5,652

5.9%

94.1%

65 and older

1,158

.9%

99.1%

Urban locations

20,425

5.2%

94.8%

Rural locations (old definition)

7,265

2.1%

97.9%

Metropolitan

22,073

6.9%

93.1%

Micropolitan

3,426

5.5%

94.5%

Rural (new definition)

2,191

4.7%

95.3%

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Age

  • Twenty-five percent of RNs practicing at least part time in Minnesota are 55 or older; 60 percent are 45 or older. The median age is 47.
  • RNs in micropolitan and rural counties are older than RNs in the rest of metropolitan counties. The median age of micropolitan and rural area RNs is 49.

bar chart of age of Minnesota RNs

 AGE GROUP

Statewide
n = 27,690
respondents

Urban
n = 20,425
respondents

(old) Rural
n = 7,265
respondents

Metropolitan
n = 22,073
respondents

Micropolitan
n = 3,426
respondents

(new) Rural
n = 2,191
respondents

Median age

47

47

49

47

49

49

Less than 35

18.5%

19.8%

14.8%

19.4%

15.6%

14.4%

35-44

21.7%

22.1%

20.5%

22.1%

20.0%

20.4%

45-54

35.2%

34.8%

36.6%

34.9%

36.8%

36.7%

55-64

20.4%

19.6%

22.6%

19.9%

22.8%

22.1%

65 and older

4.2%

3.7%

5.5%

3.9%

4.8%

6.4%

Age as July 1, 2006, for RNs working at Minnesota sites at time of survey. Column totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

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Types of Practice Site  

  • More than half of registered nurses practicing at least part time in Minnesota work in hospitals. The next most common workplaces are clinic-provider offices and nursing homes.
  • Hospital employment is most important in metropolitan areas, followed by micropolitan areas. Only 40 percent of RNs in the state’s 46 most rural counties work in hospitals.
  • More than one in five rural RNs work in nursing homes. Rural RNs are also more likely than metropolitan RNs to work in public health agencies and home health agencies.

 WORK SITE

Statewide

Urban

(old) Rural

Metropolitan

Micropolitan

(new) Rural

Total respondents

27,655

20,391

7,264

22,042

3,426

2,187

Hospital inpatient

53.1%

56.3%

44.0%

55.1%

48.8%

40.3%

Outpatient

7.6%

8.4%

5.8%

8.1%

6.6%

4.7%

Clinic/provider office

9.4%

10.1%

7.6%

9.9%

8.0%

6.4%

Nursing home

8.0%

5.1%

16.2%

6.0%

12.5%

21.7%

Home health agency

4.6%

4.0%

6.4%

4.2%

5.2%

7.4%

Public Health agency

2.9%

1.8%

6.1%

2.1%

5.3%

7.5%

School/college/univ.

3.9%

3.4%

5.1%

3.7%

5.1%

3.7%

Insurance utilization

1.7%

2.2%

.2%

2.0%

.2%

-0-

Other

8.7%

8.8%

8.8%

8.8%

8.3%

8.3%

Primary professional activity of registered nurses

  • Sixty-four percent of RNs report patient care as their primary professional activity. Another 7 percent say supervision of patient care is their main activity.
  • RNs in less urban settings are more likely than metropolitan RNs to report administration or supervision of patient care as their primary work activity. Only 52 percent of nurses in the 46 most rural counties report patient care as their primary professional activity.
  • Overall, registered nurses are less likely than licensed practical nurses to report patient care as the primary activity.

Note: This data reflects the number of respondents who reported each kind of work as the primary activity. Beginning in the 2006-08 survey cycle, RNs will be asked what percentage of time they spend in each of these activities. This new question will give a better indication of the typical mix of duties for individual RNs.

ACTIVITY

All RNs

Urban

(old) Rural

Metropolitan

Micropolitan

(new) Rural

Patient care

64.4%

67.6%

55.3%

66.5%

58.1%

52.2%

Supervision of patient care

6.5%

5.6%

9.0%

5.9%

8.0%

10.9%

Administration

8.6%

6.5%

14.7%

7.1%

12.7%

17.5%

Insurance/utilization

1.1%

1.3%

.4%

1.3%

.5%

.2%

Case management

6.1%

5.4%

7.8%

5.6%

7.2%

8.6%

Teaching

4.6%

4.1%

5.8%

4.3%

6.2%

4.5%

Telephone triage

2.5%

3.0%

1.3%

2.9%

1.4%

.5%

Other

6.3%

6.5%

5.7%

6.4%

5.9%

5.6%

Type or department/unit/area worked in a primary practice site

  • When asked what department or unit they worked in, 18 percent of RNs said they worked in medical or surgery units.
  • Nearly one-fourth of RNs in the 46 most rural counties said they worked in a long term care or assisted care department.
  • Operating room/recovery departments and intensive care units account for a larger share of metropolitan than rural nurses. Home care and public health account for a larger share of rural than metropolitan or micropolitan nurses.

DEPARTMENT/UNIT/AREA

All RNs
n = 7,690

Urban
n = 0,425

(old) Rural
n = 7,265

Metropolitan
n = 22,073

Micropolitan
n = 3,426

(new) Rural
n = 2,191

Medical/Surgery

17.9%

18.7%

15.8%

18.3%

15.4%

18.7%

Long-term/Assisted care

8.6%

5.5%

17.2%

6.4%

13.3%

23.0%

Operating room/Recovery

8.5%

8.8%

7.6%

8.7%

8.3%

6.9%

Intensive care

8.3%

9.9%

3.8%

9.5%

4.6%

2.3%

Obstetric/Gynecologic

6.3%

6.6%

4.6%

6.5%

7.1%

3.4%

Home care

5.1%

4.1%

8.0%

4.4%

6.7%

9.5%

Psychiatric/Behavioral

4.4%

4.4%

4.6%

4.3%

7.2%

1.0%

Emergency Room

4.1%

6.6%

5.4%

3.8%

5.8%

4.2%

Research

3.1%

3.1%

3.1%

3.2%

3.6%

1.5%

Public health

2.8%

1.9%

5.2%

2.2%

4.3%

6.6%

School health services

2.1%

1.8%

2.8%

2.0%

2.2%

2.6%

Other*

25.0%

31.6%

21.1%

30.8%

21.5%

20.5%

* “Other” includes very small numbers of RNs working in intensive care, emergency room and research, as well as a large number of unclassified responses.
The number of unclassified responses was particularly high among urban respondents (including the Twin Cities , Duluth , Rochester and Duluth).
This may reflect significant numbers of RNs working in specialized settings that respondents had difficulty matching with the choices they were given.

Note: In the 2006-08 survey, this question has been revised and is being asked only of nurses who work in a hospital setting. Data is presented below from the 2004-06 survey for only RNs working in hospital-inpatient settings.  

Type of department/unit/work area – hospital-inpatient facilities only

  • Twenty-nine percent of RNs working in hospitals said they worked in medical or surgical units.
  • Intensive care and operating room/recovery units claimed the next largest numbers of RNs working in hospitals.

DEPARTMENT/UNIT/AREA

Statewide n = 27,664

Medical/surgery

29.3%

Intensive care

15.4%

Operating room/recovery

11.8%

Obstetric/gynecologic

9.4%

Emergency

5.5%

Psychiatric/behavioral

5.0%

Research

1.0%

Other*

22.6%

* Other includes a very small number RNs working in assisted care, public health and school health,
as well as a large number of unclassified responses. Many of these unclassified responses may
properly be categorized as specialized medical or surgical units.

Advanced Practice Nurses  

About 5 percent of registered nurses report practicing in a certified advanced practice category. About half of these were nurse practitioners, followed by registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and nurse-midwives. Nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists are certified in a number of specialty areas.

  • The most common specialty areas among nurse practitioners were family nursing (31 percent), adult nursing (29 percent), women’s health (18 percent), gerontology (17 percent) and pediatrics (16 percent).
  • The most common specialty areas among clinical nurse specialists were adult psychiatric/mental health nursing (36 percent) and medical/surgical nursing (27 percent).

A significant number of advance practice nurses report practicing in more than one certification area.

Practice areas of certified nurse practitioners  

CERTIFICATION AREAS

n = 708

Acute care

11.1%

Adult

28.5%

Family

30.6%

Gerontology

17.1%

Neonatal

5.6%

Pediatric

16.4%

Psychiatric mental health

4.9%

School

1.5%

Women’s Health (OB/GYN)

17.9%

Other

10.0%

Total

*

Total exceeds 100 percent because many respondents practice in more than one certification area.

Practice areas of certified nurse specialists

CERTIFICATION AREAS

n = 168

Adult critical care

10.1%

Adult psychiatric and mental health

36.3%

Child/adolescent psychiatric and mental health

8.3%

Community health

3.0%

Diabetes management

1.8%

Gerontological

8.3%

Home health

3.0%

Medical/surgical

27.4%

Neonatal critical care

.6%

Pediatric

2.4%

Pediatric critical care

1.5%

Other

15.5%

Total

*

 * Total exceeds 100 percent because many respondents practice in more than one certification area.

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 Methodological note for numbers of RNs

Data is from responses received from RNs renewing their licenses between July 2004 and June 2006. RN license renewals are due every two years in the licensee’s birth month. Over a two-year period, all RNs renewing licenses are asked to complete the ORHPC survey; therefore, survey data reported here is not for a point in time, but rather for a two-year period.

The Board of Nursing received 62,800 license renewals during the survey period. As of June 1, 2006, the Board reported 71,186 current RN licensees.

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care received survey responses from 36,914 RNs renewing their licenses. Survey respondents represented about 59 percent of all RNs renewing licenses. At the time of license renewal, 27,690 (75 percent) of respondents said they working at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota.

The exact number of RNs actually practicing in Minnesota is not known. If survey respondents were representative of all licensed RNs, there would be approximately 53,400 RNs working at Minnesota sites in June 2006. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimated there were about 48,340 registered nurse jobs in Minnesota in the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to an estimate of 51,440 in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Using the July 1, 2005, population estimate for Minnesota, 53,400 RNs equate to 1,040 active RNs per 100,000 people.

Because of different data sources and definitions, this estimate of 1,040 active RNs per 100,000 population is not directly comparable to other reported data. The most recent national data permitting comparisons among states is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2005. Minnesota had 49,390 registered nurses. Using estimated 2005 population, this amounted to 962 RNs per 100,000 population, compared to a national rate of 799.

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