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"Hospitals competing for registered nurses amid a nationwide shortage are offering inducements ranging from signing bonuses--some as high as $15,000 on top of $60,000 starting salaries--to free child care and a free continuing education. One advertisement in a nursing trade publication offered a new car for any nurse who agreed to work for at least two years.
Hospitals are desperate to recruit and retain nurses. In fact, some hospitals have begun offering $1,000 to $3,000 `retention bonuses.'
National surveys indicate hospitals are averaging 11% to 14% vacancy rates in nursing positions, about 120,000 vacancies nationwide.
Estimates vary on the extent of the shortage. The federal …