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The purpose of the study was to examine the reasons for a shortage of nurses in Macao, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.Macao is facing a problem that is confronting many other cities or countries in the developed world, namely a shortage of nursing professionals. Increasing shortages are affecting the quality of patient care as well as patient outcomes.This research study used a qualitative approach to explore and understand the experiences of nurses affected by the manpower shortage. All interviews were transcribed verbatim to convey the interviewees’ intended messages as accurately as possible.The two principal themes that emerged from the study were (1) concerns about the inadequate number of nursing staff and (2) increasing demands on the staff for service. Unless addressed successfully, these two issues can compromise optimal patient care and add to the cost of health care.There is an urgent need to improve the management of nurses’ workloads and to communicate better with frontline nursing staff on issues such as payment and employee benefits, the number of staff on duty and continuing nursing education.