By 2010, the average nurse will be over 45 years old.
America's hospitals increasingly rely on older nurses who run the risk of back injuries on the job and who may soon retire, one of the nation's top nursing experts said Friday.
That could pose a staffing problem if more young adults don't go into nursing, said Peter Buerhaus, nursing professor and senior associate dean for research at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn.
Buerhaus spoke to about 50 nurses, hospital officials and nursing students at Southeast Missouri State University's Glenn Auditorium. The lecture was sponsored by an endowment created by the late Margaret Woods Allen of Sikeston, Mo.
The average age of registered nurses over the past 20 years has climbed from nearly 38 to over 42. By 2010, the average nurse will be over 45 years old, Buerhaus said. Many of the nurses will be in their 50s.
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