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February 2012, Volume 42 Number 2 , p 23 - 25



The number of young adults becoming RNs has increased dramatically since 2002, according to new data. If this trend continues, it will greatly ease concerns over a looming nurse shortage.Researchers analyzing national data found that the number of RNs ages 23 to 26 increased from 102,000 in 2002 to 165,000 in 2009. That's an increase of 62%, which represents the largest rate of growth in the nursing workforce since the 1970s. The number of young RNs peaked in 1979 at 190,000, dropped to fewer than 110,000 by 1991, and remained low for the next decade.If the current trend continues, enough RNs will be available to meet projected needs in 2030. However, if the current trend levels off, shortages likely will continue."These findings were a real surprise," said lead study author David Auerbach, an economist at the nonprofit RAND Corp., which conducted the study. "Compared to where nursing supply was just a few years ago, the change is just incredible."Source: Auerbach DI, Buerhaus PI, Staiger DO. Registered nurse supply grows faster than projected amid surge in new entrants ages 23-26. Health Aff (Millwood). 2011;30(12):2286-2292; More young people are becoming nurses; trend may help ease future nursing shortage. Rand Office of Media Relations. 2011; Dec 5.Older adults visiting the ED are less likely than younger patients to receive pain medication, according to a recent study that analyzed 7 years of ED data. Pain-related visits accounted for 47% of all ED visits by adult patients. In all, 49% of pain-related visits by patients 75 years or older resulted in administration of an analgesic, compared with 68% for middle-aged patients (ages 35 to 54). Older patients were 20% less likely to receive an analgesic drug and 15% less likely to receive an opioid drug than middle-aged patients during an ED visit in which pain was a factor.Source: Platts-Mills TF, Esserman DA, Brown DL, Bortsov AV, Sloane PD, McLean SA. Older US emergency department patients are less likely to receive

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