Objectives. We describe long-term trends in the characteristics of foreign-trained new entrants to the registered nurse (RN) workforce in the United States. Methods. Using the 1990 and 2000 US Census 5% Public Use Microdata Sample files, we compared trends in characteristics of US- and foreign-trained new entrants to the RN labor force (n = 40827) and identified trends in the country of origin of the foreign-trained new entrants. Results. Foreign-trained RNs grew as a percentage of new entrants to the RN workforce, from 8.8% in 1990 to 15.2% in 2000. Compared with US-trained RNs, foreign-trained RNs were 3 times as likely to work in nursing homes and were more likely to have earned a bachelor's degree. In 2000, 21% of foreign-trained RNs originated from low-income countries, a doubling of the rate since 1990. Conclusions. Foreign-trained RNs now account for a substantial and growing proportion of the US RN workforce. Our findings suggest foreign-trained RNs entering the United States are not of lower quality than US-trained RNs. However, growth in the proportion of RNs from low-income countries may have negative consequences in those countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health