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States work to avert nurse shortage

Staff Report • Sep 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Stateline.org is reporting that if America is to solve its nurse shortage crisis, health-care leaders will have to figure out a way to keep people such as Nancy Burtis in the profession.Burtis, 52, was an emergency room and surgical nurse in the Chicago area for almost 25 years. But after growing weary from the constant stress of the job - including forced overtime and extra shifts - and seeing peers in understaffed units suffering with backaches from lifting patients without help, Burtis left the profession six years ago for a research job in the suburbs with a pharmaceutical company.\"You were always running, trying to get everything done, always afraid you were missing something or forgetting something,\" she said. \"I don\'t think anybody can work that hard for that long.\"A perfect storm of retiring baby boomers, an aging nurse population that\'s leaving the profession and too few nursing instructors is setting up a health-care crisis. One report estimates that by 2020, there will be a staggering shortage of nurses - possibly more than 1 million vacancies. CLICK HERE for the full report.

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