Average age of nurses continues to increase
OTTAWA, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The number of regulated nurses employed in
nursing in Canada grew by more than 15,000 in the four years between 2003 and
2006, reaching 325,299. This represents a growth of 5% in the number of nurses
compared to a 3% growth in the Canadian population over the same time period,
according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health
Information (CIHI). When broken down by nursing group, the latest numbers show
that in 2006 there were 772 registered nurses (RNs) per 100,000 Canadians,
205 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and 51 registered psychiatric nurses
(RPNs). RPNs are educated and regulated only in the four Western provinces.
The report, Highlights From the Regulated Nursing Workforce in Canada, 2006,
offers a comprehensive look at the workforce trends of the largest group of
regulated health care providers in the country.
"Every year, for the past four years, we've seen a slow rise in the
number of regulated nurses in Canada," said Francine Anne Roy, Director of
Health Resources Information at CIHI. "New information on where these nurses
are across the country, who they are caring for and how long they plan to
remain in the workforce can help those in the system prepare for the changes
anticipated in coming years, as the population ages and the health system
Increase in new graduates entering the workforce; average age up slightly
The latest information shows that in 2006, there were over
50,000 regulated nurses employed in nursing who had graduated from nursing
school in the previous five years. This is an increase of 28% over the last
four years. "While new grads are continuing to enter the profession, the
average age of a regulated nurse is rising and is now close to 45," says Geoff
Ballinger, CIHI's Manager of Health Resources Information. "The age of the
workforce is important to monitor; these reports can be very useful to those
in the system in terms of planning for future staffing needs, based on the
resources available to them."
In 2006, the average age of a nurse in Canada was 44.8, up slightly from
44.5 in 2003. Registered psychiatric nurses were a little older than their
peers, at 47.2, and licensed practical nurses were the youngest, at 44.1. The
average age of a registered nurse in 2006 was 45.
Number of nurse practitioners on the rise
Between 2003 and 2006, the number of licensed nurse practitioners
increased from 725 to 1,300. Nurse practitioners are now legislated in all
10 provinces and in both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to provide
advanced treatment to patients. This may include the diagnosis and management
of illnesses and injury, ordering and interpreting tests and prescribing drugs
"Many planners have looked to nurse practitioners as a way to improve
access to care for patients," says Francine Anne Roy. "There are 1,300 nurse
practitioners in the Canadian workforce, representing 0.5% of the regulated
Other highlights from the regulated nursing workforce in Canada in 2006
- Among the nursing professions, 5.6% of the RN workforce, 7.0% of the
LPN workforce and 22.5% of the RPN workforce is male.
- Internationally educated nurses accounted for 7.0% of the regulated
nursing workforce in 2006, a slight increase from 6.7% in 2003. The
most common countries of graduation were the Philippines (29.3% of all
internationally educated regulated nurses), the United Kingdom (19.8%)
and the United States (6.6%).
- For the second year in a row, the annual report highlights data at the
regional level, showing differences between the health regions. For
example, looking at health regions within Canada's urban centres shows
a range from 384 to a high of 1,042 nurses per 100,000 population.
There are similar differences found when you compare Canada's rural
northern regions where the range is between 479 and 1,284 nurses per
In addition to Highlights From the Regulated Nursing Workforce in Canada,
2006, CIHI is also releasing three other reports-Workforce Trends of Licensed
Practical Nurses in Canada, 2006; Workforce Trends of Registered Nurses in
Canada, 2006; and Workforce Trends of Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Canada,
2006-which offer a comprehensive perspective on the largest group of regulated
health care providers in the country.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes
information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly
available. Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments created
CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a
common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI's goal: to provide
timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI's data and reports inform
health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise
awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health.
The report and the following tables and figure are available from CIHI's
website at www.cihi.ca.
Table 1(a and b). Total Number and Percentage of Nursing Registrations by
Province/Territory of Registration, Canada, 2006
(Summary Table A in the report)
Figure 1. Percentage Growth in the Number of New Graduates
Employed in Nursing, 2003 to 2006
Table 2. Number of Nurses Employed in Nursing by Year and
Profession, per 100,000 Population, Canada, 2003 to
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