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Working to Solve the Nursing Shortage

June 30, 2002

Re "Nurse Shortage Hurts All" Letters, June 8.

It is unfortunate that a longtime retired physician is judging the nursing shortage on his past experience. Dr. Michael T. Kennedy referred to a situation that happened more than 10 years ago when Mission Hospital was a for-profit hospital. And in fact, the incident he referred to did not result in a mass departure of nurses.

There are many factors that play into the nation's nursing shortage. The average age of nurses is 44 and many are coming upon retirement. There is a lack of new nurses to replace them as the number of students entering nursing colleges has steadily decreased. Also, nurses have many more employment options, including pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

Since 1994, Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center has been part of the St. Joseph Health System and operating as a not-for-profit hospital under new leadership. We are working on solutions to the nursing shortage by part- nering with our local nursing school as well as assisting nursing students with tuition. We are also developing a Nursing Center of Excellence to retain and attract new nurses.

Every one of our employees is a valued part of Mission Hospital and we strive to provide a quality work life.

Peter F. Bastone

President/ CEO

Mission Hospital

Regional Medical Center

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