The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses

Project Overview

The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) is conducted every 4 years; its purpose is to 1) monitor the number and characteristics of the registered nurse (RN) population and 2) develop supply and demand projections needed to inform policymakers about RN workforce needs. Approximately 58,000 RNs are selected across the United States to participate in the study. The survey is conducted primarily by mail, with computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) 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 1) test recommendations of expert reviewers, 2) obtain feedback on the questionnaire items, and 3) gather feedback on the data collection procedures and on how those procedures might be improved.

As a subcontractor to Gallup, Insight:

  • Developed the sample design, weighting, and variance estimation procedures, and associated programming specifications for the NSSRN
  • Led and directed a content validation analysis using 1) in-depth interviews with expert methodological reviewers, 2) discussion groups with NSSRN nonrespondents, 3) cognitive interviews with nonsampled nurses, and 4) semistructured interviews with “late” NSSRN respondents
  • Tabulated and analyzed the NSSRN data

Insight also led the development of the NSSRN findings report, which provided critical information needed to determine how support by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) for nursing education programs impacted the RN workforce. The data are vitally important for HRSA to assess the availability and distribution of RNs in relation to the Nation’s health care needs and examine trends in the characteristics and job patterns of the nursing population.

Core Activities

Survey Design and Implementation; Qualitative Research, Data Collection; Complex Survey Data Analysis; Secondary Data Analysis and Simulations; Report Development and Presentation


  • The final report is entitled “The Registered Nurse Population: Findings From the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.” (February 2006)
  • The content validation report is entitled “The 2004 NSSRN: Content Validation Report.” (March 2006)