Is the Current Shortage of Hospital Nurses Ending?

Although hospitals have experienced many shortages of registered nurses (RNs), most have not lasted as long as the current shortage, which began in 1998. However, hospital RNs' employment and earnings increased sharply in 2002, which suggests that the shortage may be easing. Two-thirds of the increase in employment came from older RNs, with the remainder supplied by RNs born in other countries. The employment response of older and foreign-born RNs indicates how the labor market is likely to respond to future shortages, and it emphasizes the challenges confronting policymakers as the RN workforce ages and eventually shrinks in size.

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