Economic Woes Are Easing the Nursing Shortage

In the every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining department, it seems that the current economic downturn is actually helping to ease America’s nursing shortage. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that many nurses who had given up the field are returning to work. The article suggests that falling home prices and rising costs of gas and food are sending people back into nursing. Some of these nurses are seeking income to compensate for the wages of a spouse who lost a job.

The Journal says that hospitals are reporting that part-time nurses are picking up additional shifts, and that nursing schools are finding more people interested in refresher courses.

This easing could be temporary, of course; one hospital administrator quoted in the article notes that as soon as the economy picks up, nurses could leave the field again.

In any case, this easing of the nursing shortage will help a strained health care system, and it would be wise for government and industry leaders to use the time to devise some long-term solutions for the nursing shortage.

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