Hospitals Across the U.S. Try to Curb Nurse Shortage

Jennifer Hall works with newborns and mothers at a hospital outside Los Angeles. She makes $60,000 a year, working just three days a week. That's how desperate hospitals are for nurses.

The Labor Department estimates that the number of nurse openings will jump from 110,000 currently to 800,000 by 2020. That means salaries will continue rising, but it's unknown whether that will solve the shortage.

Called a "traveler," Hall, of Grand Rapids, Mich., works on a short-term contract. She gets free private housing, utility reimbursement and free insurance.

Hospitals have another issue: Nursing has an image problem. Many assume that it's a job of emptying bedpans.

A nurse-placement company has created an online reality program to show the benefits of nursing. The site has a call room that acts like a political campaign, recruiting nurses from all over the country.

Though nurses' salaries are rising, the real attraction of nursing may be the guaranteed employment.

Nurses don't face the threat of outsourcing, and the industry will likely become one of the biggest growth industries in the next 10 years.

Patrick Currid left the aerospace industry after 10 years and went to school to become a nurse like his wife. He says he already has a job waiting for him when he graduates.

Though nursing school takes two years, there is a shortage of schools so future nurses may have a three-year wait just to get into a program.

Brian Rooney reported this story on "World News Tonight."

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