Central Valley ‘Ground Zero’ for State Nursing Shortage
The Central Valley is "ground zero" for the state's nursing shortage, the Bakersfield Californian reports. Area hospitals often must hire temporary nurses or recruit nurses from other hospitals, other parts of the state, other parts of the nation and other nations, such as the Philippines. Area hospitals, the state and some health care groups have allocated funds to expand the number of nursing courses in a four-year program at California State University-Bakersfield and a two-year program at Bakersfield College to address the problem. They also have used high schools to encourage more students to enter the nursing profession. "We have the lowest number of nurses per population. We're on a fast track for a long time of shortage," Douglas Lafferty, president of San Joaquin Community Hospital, said (Bakersfield Californian, 12/11). The Employment Development Department estimates that California will require 30,000 additional registered nurses in the next four years. The state will require an additional 109,600 nurses by 2010. In addition, California also has a shortage of licensed vocational nurses, who perform more limited hospital duties (California Healthline, 12/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.