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Lawsuit over man's death puts use of agency nurses in spotlight

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 10, 2008
A patient's death after falling from his bed in a Florida emergency room has raised questions about a common practice of hospitals hiring outside, fill-in nurses on a regular basis. Critics of the practice, including nurses' groups and some industry officials, say medical care for patients may suffer when hospitals rely too heavily on short-term, temporary nurses who may not know a facility's system, patients, personnel or building as well as staff nurses. An estimated one in eight registered nurses in Florida hospitals were agency fill-ins, a survey found last year.