The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses

Project Overview

The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN), conducted every 4 years, monitors the number and characteristics of the registered nurse (RN) population and develops supply and demand projections to inform policymakers about RN workforce needs. Approximately 58,000 RNs across the United States participate in the study, conducted primarily by mail, with computer-assisted telephone interviewing  follow-up for nonrespondents; a web-based reporting option is available.

Following the survey, Insight conducted a content validation study to evaluate the questionnaire and data collection procedures and recommend changes for the next survey cycle. The content validation tasks aimed to test recommendations of expert reviewers, obtain feedback on the questionnaire items, and gather feedback on the data collection procedures and how those procedures might be improved.


  • Developed the sample design, weighting, and variance estimation procedures and associated programming specifications for the NSSRN
  • Led and directed a content validation analysis using in-depth interviews with expert methodological reviewers, discussion groups with NSSRN nonrespondents, cognitive interviews with nonsampled nurses, and semistructured interviews with late respondents
  • Tabulated and analyzed the NSSRN data
  • Led development of the NSSRN findings report

The final report provided critical information needed to determine how support by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s  Bureau of Health Professions for nursing education programs influenced the RN workforce. The data were important for HRSA to assess the availability and distribution of RNs in relation to the nation’s healthcare needs and examine trends in the characteristics and job patterns of the nursing population.


  • Final report, The Registered Nurse Population: Findings From the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (2006)
  • Content validation report, The 2004 NSSRN: Content Validation Report (2006)