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Washington Post points to "older cure" to nursing shortage

May 2, 2003 -- Leef Smith's helpful article in today's Washington Post focuses on nursing students who have come to the profession later in life, and highlights the important role they are playing in efforts to address the shortage. The piece provides statistics and brief profiles on this theme. It also explores the history and magnitude of the shortage in some detail, including efforts by local nursing schools and hospitals to address it, such as accelerated nursing programs and scholarships. In explaining how the shortage developed in recent decades, the article correctly notes that "[u]nflattering depictions of nurses on TV sitcoms only fueled the perception that nursing was a second-tier job for women, who spent their time emptying bedpans and flirting with doctors." It describes the views of older nursing students that they are more dedicated to the profession than their younger colleagues because of their real world experience. The older students stress that nursing offers the satisfaction of really making a difference in people's lives; one 44-year-old notes that it was after the 9/11 attacks that she realized "it's nursing I should be doing."

Click here to see the Washington Post article