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June 30, 1951


JAMA. 1951;146(9):820-821. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670090052021

The present critical shortage of professional nurses is a matter of grave concern, in view of the indispensable role of the nurse in medical care. The shortage has arisen in part from increased demand for nursing service due to such factors as increased occupancy of available hospital beds, shorter working hours for nurses, expansion of public health work, and the increasing complexity of medical knowledge and techniques. Equally or more important factors, however, are the failure of approximately one-third of the students entering nursing schools to finish their course of training, and the fact that many registered nurses are not working at the profession. In 1949, the total number of professional registered nurses in the United States and territories was 506,050, but only 59% of these were actually engaged in nursing.1 According to a recent release from the American Nursing Association, an additional 65,000 registered nurses are needed to