Blue and white graphic showing downtrend in data

Study Finds Fewer Nurses Serving as State Lawmakers

The number of nurses holding state legislative office in the U.S. has declined significantly over the past decade, investigators from Columbia Nursing report in a new study. 

This 10-year downward trend is concerning, and should be a call to action to support all forms of civic engagement among nurses, say study authors Darlene Curley, EdD, a member of the advisory board of Columbia Nursing’s Center for Health Policy and a Maine State Legislator from 2002-2007, and Patricia Stone, PhD, Centennial Professor of Health Policy in the Faculty of Nursing and the center’s executive director. 

Curley and Stone created a directory of registered nurses holding elected office as of January 15, 2023. Out of 7,382 elected state legislators nationwide, there were 72 nurses in office in 36 states in 2023, compared to 97 nurse legislators in 39 states in 2013. Most of the nurses serving in 2023 are up for re-election in 2024. 

The study was published in the January-February 2024 issue of Nursing Outlook and is available online here