National Sample Survey of Registered
The Survey has been conducted
approximately every four years since 1977. For each survey year, HRSA has
prepared two Public Use File databases in flat ASCII file format, without
The objective of the Survey is
to sample and model nurses in the workforce. Nurses may hold licenses in more
than one State. Registered
nurses sampled answer questions on their education and training in nursing,
professional nursing certifications, education and workforce participation
prior to becoming a registered nurse, current and recent workforce
participation, income, demographic characteristics, and States in which they
hold current licenses.
The sample design used since
1977 comprises a complex, nested sample frame, with equal probabilities of
selection of nurses sampled in each State. The samples are selected from the
universe of current licensure lists in each State. Sampling weights for each
State have been calculated and added to the record of each nurse in the
respective data base files, with adjustments being made in these weights for
nurses who have multiple licenses. Even though some nurses may be sampled in
sequential surveys, this is a cross-sectional database and no attempt is made
to track the same nurse's career over time.
Links to other reports on the NSSRN surveys of 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 may be
found at the Health
Professions Workforce Nursing Reports page.
About NSSRN Public Use Files
General Public Use Files
are State-based and provide information on nurses without identifying the
County and Metropolitan Area in which they live or work. Most users will prefer
these files for general use applications that are national or State-level
County Public Use Files
provide most, but not all, the same information on the nurse from the General
Public Use File, and also identifies the County and Metropolitan Areas in which
the nurses live or work. Information likely to point to an individual in a
sparsely-populated county has been withheld.
Tables have been prepared which crosswalk the various quantities from
the surveys against the variable name used in each survey and the respective
data base files (i.e., In-House, General Public Use, or County Public Use) in
which that variable is located for the respective survey year.
NSSRN data are to be used for
research purposes only and may not be used in any manner to identify individual
Two zipped directories are
created for each NSSRN year: GeneralPUFxx.zip and CountyPUFxx.zip (where "xx"
represents the year). Each zipped directory contains data and documentation
files in subdirectories. Subdirectories range in size from 3 to 14 MB.
Unzipped, files will be substantially larger. SAS syntax auxiliary files are
included. SPSS auxiliary syntax files have been newly added as of August 2008 to the set of documentation files for each of the respective 1977-2004 NSSRN survey public use file groups. This will give users the ability to generate their own SPSS-encoded data files.
The user may not merge the
General and County databases into one aggregate database covering all
attributes together with extensive geographic information. There are no common,
unique identifiers for each surveyed nurse across these two database files.
Files named RNxxPUBL.txt
and RNxxCNTY.txt refer to the public use database files for each survey.
The xx is coded for each survey as the last two digits of the year of the
survey; e.g., 04 for the 2004 survey. The .txt format is ASCII flat file data
which is formatted without delimiters. The SAS auxiliary syntax files are in the form of .txt files. SPSS auxiliary syntax files are encoded as .sps files even though they are text files in nature. SPSS users will need to pay heed to the second line of each of the SPSS 'LOADNLABELS' files which contain a '/FILE' statement with a file name and drive location. The user must substitute their own file name and location for the raw data in text format for each respective public use file; the default location originally indicated on the downloaded file must be replaced.
Users may attempt to import the
ASCII versions of the database files into EXCEL; however, extreme caution must
be taken in the use of the EXCEL Import Wizard for parsing the database with
the hundreds of non-delimited fields. It is especially critical in counting
columns to the end of each field and in not exceeding the maximum number of
columns in any EXCEL spreadsheet. The documentation in the Codebooks will
indicate the length of each field. One trick that can be undertaken so as not
to exceed the maximum number of columns in an EXCEL spreadsheet is to mark off
up to 255 columns of the ASCII file as one text field among fields that you are
sure that you will not be further analyzing. Then, to conserve space in the
spreadsheet, subsequently delete each such text field which is not of further
interest. In order to make use in EXCEL of the published weights for each
nurse, the user must individually introduce new spreadsheet columns for
generation of crossproducts necessary for obtaining properly-weighted sums and
averages. We believe that users who only possess EXCEL can successively perform
simple and meaningful analyses of the data if the above steps are undertaken,
though tedious to perform.
are the central listing for summarizing the various files and documentation in
each respective zipped directory. It is suggested that you use the subdirectory
names as provided without overriding these names.
Files such as RN04CDOC.pdf and
RN04PDOC.pdf constitute the main documentation manuals for
each of the respective General and County public use databases and
background of the survey
layout of the documentation
technical and programmer's
naming conventions for
variables in the questionnaire
constructed (derived) variables
based on formulae using the responses to the original questions of the survey
definitions of the derived
sample variance estimation and
design notes, and
a Codebook, which includes
locations of each field/variable on the data base file
category levels for each
information for the response categories used in that survey.
Attachments to the documentation
manual also include:
a scan of the original questionnaire survey instrument
adescription of the statistical sampling methodology
appendxg.pdf, a set of appendices identifying the numerical
codes for various geographic entities, such as State, Foreign Country, Federal
Region, County, or Metropolitan Area. In 2004, appendxh.pdf
also provides information on Metropolitan Areas. Files that relate only to the
county or metropolitan data are not included in the documentation for the
appCGuid.doc (in 2004, appCGuid.pdf) and appCXwlk.doc
(in 2004, appCXwlk.pdf), a crosswalk spreadsheet showing the
evolution of the various questions by topic, tracks which variables have been
available in the General (State) File, the County File, or only in HRSA's
Accompanying the spreadsheet is a file that identifies and explains the coding
of these variables in the columns of the crosswalk to reflect the various
combinations of being available both in-house and on both public use files,
being available on the in-house and General Public Use Files, being available
on the in-house and County Public Use Files, and being available only on the
(new in 2004), a list of the Priority State orderings which are used in the
sampling and weighting processes of the survey.
Two auxiliary text files for
use in conjunction with SAS (names starting with "sas") and two auxiliary files for use in conjunction with SPSS (names with file type ".sps") provide formatting,
inputting, and labeling information for the variables and categories found on
the ASCII databases. Each pair of files, for SAS or SPSS respectively, can be used to identify the data base
input stream variables on the records, labels for each variable and variable
value, and a data format listing for each field. These files are to be used in
conjunction with the ASCII files of the public use data from the survey.
NSSRN Data Files by Downloading or on CD
Public Use data files and
documentation for any of the NSSRN surveys may be downloaded from this web
site. To download, visit the NSSRN Data Download page.
If you are unable to download the files from the HRSA Geospatial Data
Warehouse, you may request a CD that includes all of the General and County
Public Use Files over the 1977-2004 NSSRN surveys with documentation by
e-mailing the following information to email@example.com
with the subject line NSSRN PUF CD:
which files you want: General
Public Use, County Public Use or both
which/all of the surveys from
1977 to 2004 you want
your full mailing address,
including number, street, city, state and zip code
There is no charge for the CD or
Should you have questions on the
use of the files, you may also send your inquiry to
Other Data Sites