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Media Advisory

Healthcare Executives Deeply Concerned
About Nursing Shortage:

Articles in New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of Healthcare Management Focus on Shortage Issues


Two healthcare journals are covering the U.S. nursing shortage, how it affects the quality of patient care and reasons for it. This week's New England Journal of Medicine addresses the potential risks of inadequate nurse staffing levels. The first of a two-part series, "The Nursing Shortage: Why is it Happening?" in the Journal of Healthcare Management cites the many reasons for the current problem.

Three experts in healthcare management and human resources are available to comment on the nursing shortage, which could become one of the most significant crises in healthcare of the early twenty-first century.

WHO: Steven Barney, FACHE, senior vice president, Human Resources, SSM Health Care in St. Louis and author of the article in the Journal of Healthcare Management

Connie Curran, Ed. D., R.N., president and chief executive officer, CurranCare, a national healthcare management and consulting organization

Thomas Dolan, Ph.D., FACHE, CAE, president and chief executive officer, American College of Healthcare Executives

WHY: The shortage of nurses is expected to reach 1 million by 2010 and 1.5 million by 2020. The average age of nurses in the U.S. is 46, up from 31 in the 1970s. Also, nearly 70 percent of nurses are more than age 40; only 9 percent are under 30. At the same time, nursing school enrollment has decreased by 20.9 percent, causing some schools to close. Conversely, in the next 15 to 20 years, roughly 76 billion baby boomers will reach retirement age, which will create an unprecedented demand for healthcare services.

Fearing that quality of care may be at risk in organizations with lower nurse-to-patient ratios, the state of California has mandated minimum ratios for all of its hospitals; other states are considering similar action.

WHERE: Journal of Healthcare Management, Vol. 47, No. 3 (May/June), 2002: pp 153-155
***Electronic versions of article are available upon request***
CONTACT: Ann C. Bartling, CHE, (312) 424-9420