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Temp firms a magnet for unfit nurses

Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2009

Firms that supply temporary nurses to the nation's hospitals are taking perilous shortcuts in their screening and supervision, sometimes putting seriously ill patients in the hands of incompetent or impaired caregivers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Emboldened by a chronic nursing shortage and scant regulation, the firms vie for their share of the $4-billion industry. An investigation by the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica and the Times found dozens of instances in which staffing agencies skimped on background checks or ignored warnings from hospitals about sub-par nurses on their payrolls.