Hospitals Scramble to Fend Off Nursing Shortage

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2009 7:55 PM CST
Yaima Milian, center, who is in a nursing residency program, examines patient Carmen Perez, left, as a more experienced nurse looks on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 in Miami.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – US hospitals are running short of nurses as the high-pressure work pushes many to walk out, the AP reports. With little on-the-job training, one in five are quitting in less than a year—forcing hospitals to invest in residency programs to try to keep them. "It really was, 'Throw them out there and let them learn,'" one nursing professor said. "This time around, we're a little more humane in our treatment of first-year grads."

In many hospitals, nurses now team up with experienced colleagues and unload in organized "venting" sessions. Such residencies cost money, but it's more expensive to retrain a new recruit. "We are facing downstream a horrendous nursing shortage, so you need to keep the people you get and keep them supported," said a nursing association director.