Report: Big Nurse Shortage Awaits San Joaquin Valley
The nursing shortage in the San Joaquin Valley is nearing crisis proportions as population growth in the region is outpacing increases in the nursing supply, according to a report released Wednesday by the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing at California State University-Fresno, the Fresno Bee reports.
Mary Barakzai, lead author of the report, said by 2020 the area will face a shortage of up to 20,000 nurses as the population will increase by 50% during the same time period. The average population growth rate for the state is 28.8%, according to the report.
A shortage of qualified nurse educators exacerbate the problem, Barakzai said, adding that only half of all qualified students are admitted to one of the region's nine nurse education programs because of capacity constraints (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 5/10).
Barakzai said if the shortage is not mitigated, "Patients will have longer hospital stays, more hospital acquired infections, increased incidence of cardiac arrest and a higher chance of dying."
The report lists several recommendations, including:
- Expanding existing nurse education programs and adding new programs;
- Establishing nursing career pathways for primary and secondary school students; and
- Hiring more nursing instructors with advanced degrees by raising salaries to match clinical wages (Fujii, Stockton Record, 5/10).