In Reply: We agree with Ms Davis that the nurse
shortage will continue to be an important issue and that hospitals need to
explore various options to improve nurse recruitment and retention. Ms Hand's
impression that the shortage of nurses in general may be less acute than the
shortage of nurses willing to work in hospitals parallels evidence we have
gathered from more than 13 000 hospital and 27 000 nonhospital nurses.
Many of the hospital nurses we surveyed intended to leave their jobs within
the next year, and hospital nurses reported significantly greater dissatisfaction
with their current jobs than nurses in most other settings (L.H.A., S.P.C.,
D.M.S., J.S., J.H.S., unpublished data, 2002). Hand's suggestion that flexible
scheduling and effective orientation and continuing education programs may
entice expert nurses back to the bedside certainly seems plausible and is
consistent with other findings in our ongoing program of research.
Aiken LH, Clarke SP, Sloane DM, Sochalski J, Silber JH. Racial Differences in Rates of Traumatic Lumbar Puncture. JAMA. 2003;289(5):549. doi:10.1001/jama.289.5.549-a