California Nursing Programs Cut Into Shortage, New Study Finds
California nursing programs are expected to graduate nearly 68% more nurses this year than in the 2003-2004 academic year, according to a study released Friday by the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The study attributed the increase to the five-year, $90 million California Nurse Education Initiative launched by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in April 2005. The initiative created a task force to oversee the expansion of registered nurse training programs.
The initiative has provided 19 community colleges with grants and has provided $2.6 million to the California State University system to add 445 students to its bachelor's and master's programs (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10).
Since the launch of the task force, 23 new nurse education programs have started, and 74 California community colleges have expanded their nursing programs.
Community colleges train 70% of the nurses statewide (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 5/10).
If current efforts to expand nursing education are maintained, the study projects that California will surpass the national average of 825 registered nurses per 100,000 residents by 2022.
The state currently has about 647 nurses per 100,000 residents, according to a Sept. 2007 study from the Center for California Health Workforce Studies at UC-San Francisco.
Joanne Spetz, associate professor at the UCSF School of Nursing, said it is premature to say the state's nursing shortage has been resolved, noting the link between the grants and the expanded capacity of California nurse education programs (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10).