America 's nursing shortage has been compared to a perfect storm gathering in intensity. In just over a decade nearly 80 million baby boomers will be in or reaching retirement, their medical needs placing an immense strain on our health care system. Nurses themselves, whose average age now is 47, will be leaving the profession and a younger generation of nurses will not be trained in enough numbers to fill the growing needs of hospitals and patients.
|Nurse MJ Pender in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit with
Allison Smith. (Photo: Chiya Louie)
Click here to see more photos of nurses featured in this documenary.
Nurses explain the effect of the shortage on their care of patients and how it is influencing their commitment to the profession and whether they stay or leave. Hospital administrators describe what they need to do to recruit and retain nurses in this competitive market , and Gotbaum reports on the growing tensions over whether mandating nurse-patient ratios is an answer to the problem or an impediment.