MSU Covid Nurse

Montana State University third-year nursing student Rachel Nixon works at a Bozeman clinic during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, March 26, 2020. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Montana State University has been selected to lead a two-year study about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses, the largest group of U.S. health care workers, focusing on changes in employment, earnings and the supply of nurses. The study is being funded by grants totaling $430,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Johnson & Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation and UnitedHealth Group.

The study is being led by Peter Buerhaus, professor in the MSU College of Nursing and director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies, along with co-researchers Douglas Staiger, professor of economics at Dartmouth College, and David Auerbach, senior director of research and cost trends at the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

“Over the last century, nurses have faced many shocks, including world wars and economic recessions, but they have not experienced a pandemic in modern times,” Buerhaus said. “For the country’s well-being, it is critical to track and understand the effects of COVID-19 on the nursing workforce.”

There are approximately four million registered nurses and 200,000 nurse practitioners across the nation, and they are supported by more than 600,000 licensed practical nurses and hundreds of thousands of nursing assistants working in countless care delivery settings.

The study will research whether