|Emergency in Acute Care: A Nursing Shortage|
|Subject||Determinants of Demand and Supply, Shortages|
|Key Words||Shortage, Wages, Benefits, Bonuses|
There is a shortage of specialized, highly trained, registered nurses. Some hospitals are reducing patient admissions as a result. Waiting lists are likely to be longer and patients may have to travel further for attention.
One cause is that the population is aging and therefore has more health problems, while the nursing profession is seeing older nurses retire. Unfortunately, there are fewer new entrants because of plentiful and attractive opportunities for women in other industries, and the memories of cutbacks in staff due to the increase in managed care (which reduces the reimbursements that hospitals receive from insurance companies). Indeed, enrollments in nursing colleges have fallen for the last four years. The colleges have had to accept less-qualified students.
Hospitals are trying to lure full-time nurses into accepting extra part-time assignments. They are also offering hiring bonuses, as well as higher wages and better benefits. Employees who refer other nurses sometimes receive bounties.
(Updated May 1, 1999)
|Source||Peter T. Kilborn, "Registered Nurses in Short Supply at Hospitals Nationwide", The New York Times, March 23, 1999.|
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