Nursing Shortage Update - August, 2002

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Is there really a nursing shortage?

Nursing Shortage Update - August, 2002

The nation's nursing shortage has had significant consequences during the past five years, even contributing to patient injuries and deaths. Inadequate nurse staffing has been a factor in 24 percent of the 1,609 cases involving death, injury or permanent loss of function reported since 1997 to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The report says there are 126,000 nursing positions unfilled in hospitals nationwide. Ninety percent of long-term care organizations lack sufficient nurses and have shortages of nurses "to provide even the most basic care" and some home-health care agencies are being forced to refuse new patients.

With the aging of the nation's baby boomers and nurses themselves, it has been estimated that by 2020 there will be at least 400,000 fewer nurses available to provide care than will be needed, providing a major nursing shortage problem.



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