MADISON – Demand for registered nurses is projected to continue growing through at least 2040, according to a report released today by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

How well the state succeeds in meeting the growing demand depends on factors ranging from maintaining strong educational and training opportunities to managing health care demand and leveraging technology in a way that frees more time for caregiving. The Wisconsin Registered Nurse Supply and Demand Forecast Results 2020-2040 is the latest report in a series started in 2010.

The report uses three different analytical models to create projections based on data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin Health Workforce Data Collaborative, DWD’s own surveys of registered nurses and other sources. The three different models start with a current registered nursing workforce of 67,900 and project shortages ranging from 3,000 to 22,900 nurses by 2040.

A new feature in the report projects demand by practice setting, with the need for nurses in extended care climbing by 110% and nurses in home health care by 105% by 2040. Public health nurses and nurse educators were among the nine practice areas to see the slowest projected growth, at 15% and 11% respectively by 2040.

In releasing the report, DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek expressed deep appreciation to nurses and all health care workers for their dedication and service during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“We owe so much to nurses, who are essential to our health and our health care system,” said Pechacek. “Yet more must be done to support today’s nursing workforce and expand opportunities to bring more people into the field. DWD remains committed to working with its partners to build and strengthen the pipeline of nurses and the entire healthcare workforce in the 21st century and beyond.”

The report authors are economist Tom Walsh and senior research analyst Maria del Pilar Casal, both staff members of DWD’s Bureau of Workforce Information and Technical Support. Find the report here and learn more about Wisconsin’s labor market through

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