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Night Nurse
Why I Stay

Part Three: What Are Hospitals Doing To Keep Nurses Working And Happy?

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Many young nurses entering the profession these days are overwhelmed. Nursing schools do not provide the clinical training needed for nursing today which requires technical expertise unimagined even a few years ago.

  Ed Coakley, Senior Nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. (Photo: Chiya Louie)
Click here to see more photos of nurses featured in this documenary.
A recent study from The New York University School of Nursing found that about 20 percent of nurses leave the hospital within their first year of work. Some hospitals are addressing the needs of their new nurse graduates by providing longer orientation programs and other supports such as rapid response teams which are deployed to help any nurse in a pinch. Hospitals are no longer relying on higher wages to recruit and retain nurses. Many institutions are giving nurses leadership roles in running the operations of the hospital and others are addressing nurses' major concern - the amount of patients they must care for on a shift. Despite changes in some hospitals many nurses say conditions have gotten worse - they are caring for sicker patients and their job has become unrealistic. In more than a dozen states nurses are pushing to mandate nurse to patient ratios in hospitals. But despite all these efforts to address the growing shortage, the demand for nurses is expected to increase by 40 percent over the next decade while the supply steadily drops.