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Health care providers and facilities issue brief: nursing shortages: year end report-2004.


Many states across the nation are seeking ways to retain registered nurses and curb rising workforce shortages. Some state governments have established scholarship and loan forgiveness programs to increase the number of people pursuing a career in nursing. State lawmakers are also providing incentives to increase the number of nurse educators. Hospitals are offering childcare subsidies and employers are offering flexible hours and signing bonuses. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a study in June 2000 estimating a 20 percent shortage of registered nurses by 2020 in the United States. A nursing shortage exists in this country for several reasons. First, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, enrollment in bachelor's programs has declined steadily for the last five years. Moreover, the nursing work force is aging; less than 10 percent of registered nurses are under the age of 30. The numbers are expected to further decline because many baby boomers will be retiring by 2010. Lastly, nurses' salaries, on average, are inadequate compared to other professions.

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