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A widespread shortage of nurses at Massachusetts hospitals is only getting more extreme, with an estimated 5,000 vacancies across the state and institutions hemorrhaging cash as they are forced to hire temporary staff at much higher rates.

In June, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association conducted a survey of 36 of the state’s 61 acute care hospitals. According to findings released this week, the vacancy rate for nurse positions has more than doubled since before the pandemic, growing from 6.4 percent in 2019 to 13.6 percent in 2022.

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