Missouri has almost 80,000 Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses
According to the Missouri State Board of Nursing, 59,295 actively licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) and 20,492 actively licensed Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) reside in Missouri, totaling just under 80,000.
Registered Nurses make up the largest healthcare occupation in the U.S., employing more than 2.3 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More new jobs are projected to be created for RNs by 2012 than any other occupation in the U.S. In Missouri, it is projected that there will be an addition 11,000 RNs by 2012, ranking it among the state's largest growing occupations. The number of LPNs in the U.S. totals just over 702,000 and is projected to grow nationally by about 20 percent while the number of LPNs in Missouri is projected in increase by more than 2,000 by 2012.
Several factors contribute to this projected increase in the demand for nurses. The aging U.S. population will require more care for a longer time, as the average life expectancy is greater than ever. In addition, the average age of nurses is increasing and there will be openings as nurses begin to retire in the coming years. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration's National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses in 2000, the average age for an RN was 45.2 years old. Only 18.3 percent of the RNs were under age 35 at the time of the survey. The increased demand for and aging of nurses may contribute to a shortage of nurses across the U.S.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study projects that 44 states (including Missouri) and the District of Columbia will have RN shortages by 2020.
States with Projected Shortages of FTE Registered Nurses in 2020
Registered Nurses are employed throughout the state, but are concentrated around Missouri's population centers, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, Joplin and Cape Girardeau.
In Missouri, the average age for Registered Nurses is higher than the U.S. average at 46.12 years old.
The average age for Licensed Practical Nurses in Missouri is 44.65, slightly younger than Registered Nurses.
No Missouri counties have an average age for LPNs younger than 39.