January 10, 2013—More than 360,000 regulated nurses were employed in Canada in 2011, representing an increase of more than 8% since 2007. This growth rate was nearly twice the rate of population growth, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) annual report on the nursing workforce. However, the number of registered nurses per 100,000 remains below the peak reached in the early 1990s.
There is a positive trend in the renewal of the nursing profession. Over the last five years, the proportion of regulated nurses younger than age 35 increased from 20.9% to 23.7% of the workforce.
More than 56% of employed nurses were working full time in 2011. Similarly, more than 50% of all younger nurses are finding full-time employment within the first five years of working.
The number of nurse practitioners (NPs) doubled from 1,344 to 2,777 between 2007 and 2011, due in part to increased provincial/territorial investment in NPs and in part to additional jurisdictions submitting NP data to CIHI. NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who have additional education in health assessment and diagnosis and management of illness and injury, and who can order tests and prescribe drugs. More than half of NPs work outside hospitals, in areas such as community practice.