The Nursing Workforce in an Era of Health Care Reform

Published in: The New England Journal of Medicine, v. 368, no. 16, Apr. 2013, p. 1470-1472

by David I. Auerbach, Douglas Staiger, Ulrike Muench, Peter Buerhaus

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Despite the projections of severe shortages made just 10 years ago, a combination of policy efforts, a responsive education system, private-sector initiatives, and the effects of the recession has led to unexpected growth in the nursing workforce. If this growth continues, the nursing workforce will be better able to respond to the health care needs of Americans, including retiring baby boomers, and to the many challenges and consequences of the implementation of health care reform. This outcome is not certain, however, and is less likely if the surge in younger people entering nursing stalls, the workforce continues to grow unevenly across the country, or the nursing workforce is ill prepared to meet the challenges of the fast changing health care delivery system.

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