Looming crisis: lack of nurses

National nursing organizations have warned for years that the dangerous shortage of hospital nurses is about to get a lot worse, and will eventually kill hospitalized patients. Sofia Jaramillo says this will not happen on her watch if she can help it.

Jaramillo works in a medical intensive care unit at Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus. A few days ago, two of her patients died of natural causes within 90 minutes of each other, and Jaramillo cried. She said, "I always cry when one of mine dies."

Jaramillo works on the front lines of what nurses and doctors here call a national crisis.

American medical groups say the nurse shortage -- nearly 9 percent nationally -- has burned out nurses, driven many nurses working in acute care out of that specialty, and diminished patient care, just as the baby boom generation has started filling hospital beds.

Laurie Labarca, Via Christi's interim chief executive, warns that the shortage could get worse.

Read the complete story at