Nurses are health care's backbone, spending the most time with patients, and working with teams of caregivers in institutions and serving as advanced practice nurses in primary care settings. Short-term shortages wax and wane, but concerns about a shortage are more serious now because the next decade may see more older nurses retiring than new ones entering the workforce. Education needs to be augmented and improved, but no precise estimation method can show how many nurses society "should" produce. Policy should focus more on nurses' scopes of practice and aligning how they are treated and paid with the value they add to patient care.
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