N.H. leads nation in RNs per capita

New Hampshire has the most registered nurses per capita in the United States, according to a new report from the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health.

According to the report, “The United States Health Workforce Profile,” there are 1,283 registered nurses per 100,000 population in New Hampshire.

California has more than 200,000 actively practicing RNs, the most of any state, but has the fewest RNs per capita — 588.

The report details the supply, distribution and education of health personnel in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using data from 2004.

The report provides a description of the country’s health workforce at state, regional and national levels. The profile also includes information on health status indicators and health care employment by setting.

“Access to care, quality of care and costs of care are all affected by the availability of properly educated and trained workers,” said Jean Moore, director of the center and one of the authors of the study. “Our goal with this report is to present a wide array of data on the health workforce to help state planners and policy makers better understand and address critical health workforce issues.”

Some of the key findings of the report include:

• Registered nurses: New Hampshire had the most RNs per capita with 1,283 per 100,000 population, with a total of 16,670 in 2004. South Dakota, North Dakota, Massachusetts and Maine completed the top five on the per-capita list.

• Physicians: Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York led the nation in physicians per capita. Mississippi, Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, and Texas had the fewest doctors per 100,000 population. Massachusetts (303 per 100,000 population), had a nearly 50 percent higher ratio of physicians than the national average and nearly double the ratio of Mississippi (157). New Hampshire was 13th, with an average of 226 physicians per 100,000.

• Licensed practical nurses: Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Tennessee led the nation in LPNs per capita, while Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Maryland and California had the fewest. New Hampshire was 43rd in the nation, with 1,930 LPNs, or about 148 per 100,000 people.

• Physician assistants: The nation’s 50,000 PAs were most heavily concentrated in the Northeast, but Alaska and South Dakota had the most PAs per capita, and Mississippi and Arkansas had the fewest. New Hampshire, with 283 physician assistants, or 9.63 per 100,000 people, ranked 21st.

• Social workers: Maine, Delaware, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts were the top five states for social workers per capita. Rhode Island, Kentucky, Washington, Idaho and Texas had the fewest. New Hampshire, with 1,710 — or about 131 per 100,00 people — ranked 36th.

• Home health aides: New York had the highest rate of home health aides per capita in the country, more than seven times the rate in Georgia, which had the lowest. With more than 624,000 home health aides, this group comprised one of the largest health occupations in the nation — 212 per 100,000 population. New Hampshire was below the national average, with about 144 home health aides per 100,000 people, or a total of 1,880.

For a copy of the full report, visit www.albany.edu/news.

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