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There are many factors contributing to the nursing shortage:
*Growing demand - During the nation's economic slump, many people put off getting health care because of financial troubles or a lack of insurance. With the economy up, so is the demand. Without the new graduate pipeline, there are fewer nurses available to replace those who retire or leave for other opportunities. Currently, the ratio of RNs in their 40s to RNs in their 20s is four to one.
*Lower baccalaureate enrollment - In fall 2000, entry-level BSN enrollment fell by 2.1 percent, dropping for the sixth year in a row, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
*Higher hospital census and greater acuity -Modifications in managed care and a new push for competitive quality is increasing patient days, hours of nursing care and the recognition of the role of the RN.
***This information was taken from the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, July 2001