Labor Representatives Urge Lawmakers to Address Nursing Shortage
Saying that the quality of care in California hospitals is being affected by the nursing shortage, labor representatives this week called on state lawmakers to keep the issue "at the top of their political agendas," the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. At a special session of the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, labor representatives urged lawmakers to create educational programs that would train vocational nurses and nurses' aides to become registered nurses. Assembly member Ed Chavez (D-La Puente) proposed a loan forgiveness program and streamlined admissions to encourage more applications to nursing schools. Glenda Canfield of the Service Employees International Union's Nurse Alliance said that many nurses leave the field because "inadequate hospital staffing" compromises the quality of care. In addition, mandatory overtime is prompting many nurses to leave the profession, Canfield said. The Tribune reports that Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Rosemead) introduced legislation last session that would have banned mandatory overtime, but that measure was pulled after the California Nurses Association expressed concern that Gov. Gray Davis (D) would veto it. According to the SEIU, 42,000 registered nurses in California are not practicing, due in part to a lucrative "out-of-hospital" job market for people with nursing degrees (Rizo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 10/31).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.