The Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 and Nursing Shortage in United States

Janine C-White Cumming


The U.S. Congress passed into law Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 following growing concerns about the shortage of nursing. By 2002, nursing schools were experiencing a decrease in enrollment at a time when health care organizations were rapidly losing nurses because of a highly stressful environment. Over the past two decades, the mean age of registered nurses (RN) rose to more than 45 years, and 2004 RNs represented the oldest occupational group in United States. Projections indicate that by 2020, health care organizations will face a shortage of more than 330,000 nurses. Interventions will need to be in place with emphasis on retention and recruitment to prevent nurses from leaving positions. In this paper, I explore the effect of the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 the nursing shortage in the United States.


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