Hospital Steps Ease Nurse Shortage in Near Term but Long-Term Worries Persist

Stopgaps Include Higher Pay and Temporary Staff, Raising Cost and Quality Concerns

Hospitals have used a mix of short-term and long-term strategies to deal with nurse shortages, particularly efforts emphasizing nurse education, competitive compensation, and temporary staff. Interviews with health care leaders from Round Five of the Community Tracking Study indicate that these activities, in conjunction with other factors, have assisted in reducing shortages of hospital nurses. However, hospitals' actions have increased costs and raised concerns about their potential impact on patient care. Additionally, a large degree of doubt exists among hospitals about their ability to meet future nursing needs.