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Counting nurses: interpreting nursing workforce statistics

Jane Hemsley‐Brown (Jane Hemsley‐Brown is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Education Marketing, School of Education, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

Health Manpower Management

ISSN: 0955-2065

Article publication date: 1 October 1997



Discusses the interpretation of nursing statistics, the problem of counting how many nurses there are in the workforce, and the need to be aware of how statistics are compiled when presenting numerical data to support arguments relating to nursing and the nursing workforce. Argues that NHS workforce statistics provide considerable evidence for claiming that there is a significant decline in the number of nursing staff doing the work of nursing in the NHS. Explains that although there was an increase in the number of qualified nurses working in the NHS throughout the 1980s (over a ten‐year period the number of qualified nurses increased by 22 per cent), the increase in qualified nursing staff has not compensated for the loss of student learners in the workforce. Emphasizes that during the last three years for which figures are available, however, these gains have been wiped out, and the number of qualified nurses has declined to pre‐Project 2000 levels.



Hemsley‐Brown, J. (1997), "Counting nurses: interpreting nursing workforce statistics", Health Manpower Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 159-166.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited