The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services projects a shortage of registered nurses in the state that would require 222 new RNs to be licensed in the state each year leading up to 2020. Since this far outpaces the rate of licensure in the state, the state’s hospital systems are bracing for what is expected to be a critical shortage in the coming years.
Wyoming’s unique population poses challenges to healthcare providers in the state. With its boom and bust economy relying heavily on the migration of workers into and out of the state, stakeholders in Wyoming have tended to exercise caution when it comes to expanding healthcare facilities.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services analyzed the need for RNs in various regions of the state in a 2011 study that compared the number of healthcare professionals to the population of these areas. It found that Caspar and Cheyenne had a surplus of RNs, while the southwestern and central southeastern portions of the state are likely to be hardest hit by the growing shortage.
Comparison of Salaries for ADN and BSN Prepared RNs in Wyoming
Recognizing that bachelor’s-educated RNs result in lower patient mortality rates and better patient outcomes, but realizing that the BSN path to licensure would result in fewer RNs entering the workforce, the state’s employers are looking to strike the appropriate balance in light of the National Institute of Medicine’s call for 80% of the country’s RNs to have a BSN by 2020.
Only 38.7% of the nurses who responded to a 2013 survey conducted by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services had a BSN, while 39.0% had an associate’s degree. In 2013, there were 492 students enrolled in BSN programs in Wyoming according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
The highest paid RNs, other than those with advanced practice licenses, are those educated at the bachelor’s level.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salaries for top earning BSN-educated RNs that resulted from a survey of Wyoming’s RNs conducted in 2013:
In contrast, Wyoming RNs with associate’s degrees earned an average of $48,809 a year in 2014, nearly $22,000 less than what top earning BSN-educated RNs earned according to the state’s Department of Workforce Services.
BSN RN Salary Analysis in Regions of Wyoming
The salaries for BSN-prepared nurses vary throughout Wyoming. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a full analysis of salary information for top earning BSNs throughout the state: