Davis Announces $60 Million Initiative to Train 1,500 Nurses
Gov. Gray Davis (D) Wednesday announced a $60 million initiative to train 5,100 nurses over the next three years, the Los Angeles Times reports (Perera/Morain, Los Angeles Times, 1/24). Funded through state Workforce Investment Act funds, the Nurse Workforce Initiative will include:
- $24 million over three years for 2,400 training and "preceptorship" positions in hospitals, community colleges or the California State University system;
- Another $24 million over three years to expand five "regional workforce collaboratives" currently under development and establish "additional" collaboratives for 2,400 licensed nurses;
- A statewide media campaign to recruit people to the profession;
- $1 million to improve nurse retention through "workplace reform projects"; and
- Restoration of $800,000 from the Registered Nurse Education Fund to provide "additional financial assistance and education support" to nursing students.
Davis said, "Ultimately, I want to ensure that -- for every patient -- quality of care is as close as a nurse's call button" (Office of the Governor release, 1/23). The initiative follows Davis' announcement Tuesday about new state minimum nurse-to-patient ratios set at a 1-to-1 ratio for nurses and patients in trauma centers, a 1-to-4 ratio for pediatric nurses and child patients and a 1-to-2 ratio for obstetric nurses and women in labor (California Healthline, 1/23). Davis said, "We cannot [succeed] by working the existing corps of nurses harder and harder." Sheryl Skolnick, co-director of research for Fulcrum Global Partners brokerage, said that Davis' proposed ratios are "fairly modest." She added, "It strikes a middle ground between what the nurses wanted and what the hospitals wanted" (Los Angeles Times, 1/24).
According to the Sacramento Bee, Davis' initiative "won't produce enough nurses to fill every vacancy created by" his new mandatory staffing levels (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 1/24). Jim Lott, Healthcare Association of Southern California's executive vice president, said, "The bottom line is: Give us more nurses to hire." He added that the solution to the problem has to come from the "ground level ... where nurses are trained." Lott says that Davis needs to raise the number of openings for nursing students at state universities, which "would increase the number of nurses in the job pool." Lott concluded, "There just aren't enough nurses for anyone. We need to increase the pool that's available for everybody" (Los Angeles Times, 1/24).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.