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Oncology Nursing Society Position

The Impact of the National Nursing Shortage on Quality Cancer Care

ONF 2001, 940-941 DOI:

A major national nursing shortage is developing that is uniquely different from other nursing shortages previously experienced in the United States. This shortage is expected to peak in the next 10–15 years unless immediate steps are taken in the public and private sectors to reshape the country’s healthcare delivery system and to counteract the individual forces causing the shortage internally. Buerhaus, Staiger, and Auerbach (2000a) estimated that by approximately 2010, the size of the nursing workforce will begin to shrink as baby boomers retire and the number of younger nurses will be insufficient to replace them. Action is necessary now because this shortage already is well under way.