Cooper awoke this morning with severe pain in her chest. She was used to the occasional heartburn, but this pain was sharper and more defined. Later into the morning, she eventually called her daughter to take her to the emergency room. To her amazement and relief the pain lifted on the ride to the hospital. Once arriving at the emergency room, Mrs. Cooper completed all the necessary paper work and was told to wait in the lobby until a nurse could see her in triage. After triage, she would be able to see a doctor when she was available. Mrs. Cooper had been placed on the "not critical" waiting list since her pain had eased and she had a history of severe heartburn. After a three-hour wait, Mrs. Cooper was escorted to the triage and her vital signs were taken. The nurse noticed high blood pressure, but took no immediate action because Mrs. Cooper's chart indicated a history of it. She was asked to return to the waiting. Shortly after triage, Mrs. Cooper's pain returned with great vivacity. In moment's she was in cardiac arrest lying on the floor. Hospital personnel immediately rushed to her side and began CPR, but it was to late. Mrs. Cooper had died waiting to see medical officials.
The theorized story dramatized is the preceding paragraph is fictional, but similar events are happening in the United States every day. The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage that is projected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that the pipeline of new nurses is shrinking with enrollments at nursing colleges and universities now in a six-year decline. Many Americans do not realize the critical shortage of nurses, aides, and doctors facing our country. The rising cost of health care has not led to better health care. Doctors are facing such high malpractice insurance that they are not able to maintain their practices in rural America.