The number of registered nurses in the United States is now higher than ever but demand is outstripping supply, causing a significant nursing shortage at hospitals and nursing homes, a commission has concluded.

The Commission on Nursing, established by Health Secretary Otis Bowen, presented its first report to the Department of Health and Human Services with the gloomy prediction that the nursing shortage is likely to persist given current trends."The commission has found that the situation for nurses and for our health care system is serious and will require the attention and concentrated efforts to all of us in the health care field," said Carolyn Davis, commission chairperson.