Most western economies have in recent years been experiencing one of the longest and deepest economic recessions since the Great Depression. During a recession health-care expenditures are often among the first to be cut. However, what is occurring in daily practice from the point of view of care has not been documented to date. Describing the cost containment interventions undertaken and their effects as perceived in daily practice by Italian nurses was the aim of the study. A longitudinal study design was adopted from 2010 to 2011 involving 1,001 nurses each year. In the 2-year period taken into consideration, participants reported a significant increase in the number of cost containment measures adopted by their health-care organisations. The effects of these cost containment measures have been perceived by nurses especially in terms of (1) increased stress levels, (2) increased number of patients with social problems, and (3) increased nursing workloads. In addition, greater difficulties in finding clinical placement for nursing students and fewer resources devoted to nursing professional development were reported, indicating that some cost containment measures will have long- term effects. The economic crisis seems to affect mainly the most vulnerable groups of society. Innovative solutions for the need to reduce the costs of National Health Services do not seem to emerge from the findings
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