Every two years the AIHW conducts a survey of the nursing workforce in Australia at the time of registration renewal. This report presents statistics on employment trends of nurses up to 1999, and detailed findings from the 1997 Nursing Workforce Survey. This information includes the demographic and labour force characteristics of registered and enrolled nurses, and their geographic distribution. Additional information relating to hospital patient and staffing statistics from 1995-96 to 1998-99 was obtained from AIHW Australian Hospital Statistics annual publication. To complement the AIHW collections, data from other government agencies and the OECD have been included to provide information on the number of students enrolled in and completing tertiary nursing courses, migration patterns of nurses, areas of nursing shortages and some international comparisons.