All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Patricia A Patrician

Advisory Committee Members

David J Becker

Kathleen A Ladner

Peng Li

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


Background/Significance: Nurses comprise the largest sector of the total health care workforce. Acute care hospitals have historically been major employers of registered nurses (RNs). What is currently known about Alabama’s acute care RN workforce supply is limited. Additionally, a paucity of data is available to describe employer demand. Alabama’s aging population, chronic disease burden, and health care system reforms suggest that the demand for RNs will continue to grow. Data are needed to provide a greater understanding of current and future RN supply and demand to inform workforce planning, educational investment, and state health policy. Purpose: To characterize the current and future supply and demand of Alabama’s acute care registered nurse workforce. Methods: A cross-sectional exploratory, descriptive design was employed. Acute care registered nurse supply was evaluated utilizing 2016 and 2018 de-identified secondary data collected by the Alabama Board of Nursing’s voluntary survey administered during RN license renewal. Sample descriptive data, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, experience, workforce participation, and plans to leave the workforce, were explored. Acute care registered nurse demand was investigated utilizing the Survey of Acute Care Registered Nurse Employers in Alabama 2019. Labor market perceptions and facility-level practices related to RN educational preparation were explored. Findings: Supply: Estimated full-time equivalents (FTEs) contributed by acute care nurses in Alabama decreased between 2016 (25,549.50 FTEs) and 2018 (23,707.50 FTEs). Data trending from the last decade reflect a declining number of RN licenses issued by the Alabama Board of Nursing due to examination (i.e., new graduate nurses). Demand: Seventeen (68%) of CNOs reported overall acute care RN need as high demand with difficulty filling open positions. Twenty (80%) CNOs reported high demand for experienced RNs. Discussion: This study provided evidence of a current acute care nursing shortage in Alabama. Ongoing data collection contributing to what is known about Alabama’s supply and demand of the acute care RN workforce should be a legislative and health care sector priority.

Included in

Nursing Commons



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