Nurses Needed for Healthcare Reform

The prognosis for America's chronic nursing shortage remains grim. 
More than 216,000 registered nursing positions remain unfilled at U.S. hospitals and nursing homes. 
The nationwide nursing shortage could grow to 275,000 by 2010 and one million by 2020.
Nearly 50,000 qualified applicants were turned away from U.S. nursing schools in 2008 because of insufficient resources to educate them.
New possibilities bring some hope for resolution.
The recently enacted economic stimulus bill includes $500 million to address shortages of healthcare workers. Approximately $100 million may be dedicated to nursing.
The Nurse Education, Expansion, and Development (NEED) Act was introduced in Congress in February 2009. It would authorize capitated grants to nursing schools for much-needed nurse educators, infrastructure improvements, laboratory enhancement and equipment purchase.
In a recession, nursing offers the assurance of eventual employment opportunity. A 2006 study projected nursing employment  to rise an average of 23 percent by 2016. Nursing positions in physicians' offices and home health each led the way with a predicted increase of 39 percent. 
America's healthcare system cannot be reformed or realize its full potential unless we have sufficient nursing staff to care for the growing number of patients requiring treatment. An estimated 6,700 patient deaths and 4 million days of hospital care could be averted annually by increasing the number of nurses. Now is the time to take action to alleviate the nursing shortage. My wife is. She's planning a second career in nursing.
—Tom DeSanto

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