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Why More Visas for Foreign Nurses? (Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN)

By Kitty Pilgrim

PILGRIM: The United States faces a critical shortage of qualified nurses. The hospital industry says there could be a shortfall of more than half a million nurses over the next decade. But rather than recruit nurses and pay them a fair wage, the health care industry and Congress want to bring some 60,000 foreign nurses into the country. Bill Tucker reports.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2007, the national vacancy rate for registered nurses was eight percent according to the American Hospital Association. Demand has grown by two to three percent a year and the shortage could reach as high as 500,000 by 2025 according to a report on the Future of Nursing released in March. There is no doubt that there is a nursing shortage.

Part of the reason for the shortage appears to be purely economic. A study of nursing wages in 2004 by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that nursing wages fell from 1996 to 2000 and that it wasn't until 2001 that wages actually began to rise. But according to working nurses.

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