Study examines racial, ethnic composition of New York's nurse practitioner workforce

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A recent study conducted by researchers at the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) examined the racial/ethnic composition of New York's nurse practitioner (NP) workforce. Researchers examined key demographic, educational, and practice characteristics of the state's active NPs.

Researchers found that Hispanic NPs were underrepresented in most regions of the state when compared to the Hispanic population in those regions. New York City saw the largest disparity between Hispanic NPs (8 percent) and the local Hispanic population (29 percent). On the other hand, in the North Country region, Hispanic NPs nearly mirrored their presence in the regional population.

Black NPs were also underrepresented in many regions of the state, with the greatest disparities between Black NPs and the regional Black population observed in the Western New York, Finger Lakes and Central New York regions.

The variation in regional race/ethnic representation demonstrates the importance of examining workforce distribution at the regional level.

Other key findings include:

  • NPs younger than 50 tended to be more racially and ethnically diverse.
  • Black and Hispanic NPs complete their NP training at older ages compared to all other NPs.
  • Nearly half of Black NPs work in primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).

A diverse NP workforce not only assures an adequate supply of health workers, but also supports the provision of culturally competent health care. While the findings from this analysis show evidence of progress in terms of health equity, improvements can still be made."

Kristen Stiegler, CHWS Senior Program Coordinator

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