Nursing Shortage Solutions Good But Not Enough, San Diego Union-Tribune Says
Until "overextended" and "exhausted" nurses in California receive "better pay and working conditions," the state's "nursing crisis" will continue, a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial says. The editorial says that nurses in California "seldom receive the support they need to do their jobs," and "many burn out, transfer out of hospitals or leave the profession." The state, having "ignored the nursing crisis for far too long," is "finally taking steps" to ease the "critical shortage," the Union-Tribune says. Gov. Gray Davis (D) has approved $21 million in grants for the first phase of a $52 million, three-year plan "to alleviate the shortage" by training at least 5,000 new nurses, the editorial notes. Davis also has signed a bill to boost nursing education at community colleges and universities and has proposed nurse-to-patient staffing ratios to make California the first state to place limits on a nurse's patient load. The ratios have provoked a "war of words" between nursing advocates and hospital representatives, the editorial says. The California Healthcare Association maintains the staffing restriction proposals are "a simplistic solution that could have unintended consequences," while the California Nurses Association believes that the state "should be more concerned with retaining hospital nurses than recruiting new ones." But the Union-Tribune says that "both sides miss the salient point," adding that the state "desperately needs more nurses." It is "essential" to focus on increased pay and better working conditions to "attract nurses and kee[p] them in the profession," the editorial states, concluding, "Until these issues are addressed, California's nursing crisis will continue" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/7).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.