News & Events

Are We Headed For A Nursing Crisis?

On October 24, NOW on PBS will explore a projected nursing shortage that could impact quality of and access to care for millions of patients.
Show will highlight Innovative solutions in New York City and elsewhere

NEW YORK, September 26 – A U.S. government study projects that by the year 2020, there will be a nationwide shortage of up to one million trained nurses.  The nursing shortage is already placing strains on the entire medical system.  On October 24, 2008, the Emmy Award-winning newsmagazine NOW on PBS will examine the root causes of this crisis, and innovative efforts to reverse the trend.

Even though qualified nurses are in high demand and hospitals are offering attractive incentives, many are leaving the profession. Even more alarming: few are choosing to teach the next generation of professionals. As a result, tens of thousands of applicants are being turned away from the nation’s nursing schools

Mary Naylor, a professorat theUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, says many nurses leave after being overworked to the point of endangering their patients. But Naylor points to pockets of innovation that provide hope. At New York Presbyterian Hospital, for example, administrators are taking aggressive steps to attract, train and retain the best and brightest.  At the hospital’s five medical centers, nurses are carefully cultivated through mentoring and residency programs that nurture them through the early years.

"A nursing shortage paints a frightening scenario for the recipients of their care – all of us," says NOW on PBS Executive Producer John Siceloff. "It’s vitally important to understand the depth of this problem, but also to recognize models of success that can help us avert a serious disaster."

The production is supported in part by a grant from the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund (more information is available at:

Photos, interview opportunities, and more information are available upon request.


Called "fearless about challenging conventional wisdom" by Tom Brokaw and "one of the last bastions of serious journalism on TV" by the Austin American-Statesman, the Emmy-winning PBS weekly newsmagazine NOW engages viewers with documentary segments and insightful interviews that probe the most important issues facing democracy. Hosted by award-winning veteran journalist David Brancaccio, NOW is a production of JumpStart Productions, LLC, in association with Thirteen/WNET New York. NOW on PBS’ Executive Producer is John Siceloff. The show can also be accessed through On-Demand television, audio podcasting, video podcasting, and streaming video on the NOW website at

Contact: Joel Schwartzberg
Ph: 212.560.2858