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California looks to help local students fill nursing shortage

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by Brian Brian, ASN, RN (Member)

Brian is a ASN, RN and specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

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Despite efforts to add classes, nursing schools aren't keeping up with demand, and 17,000 California applicants are on waiting lists to start training.

Nicole Oswell was a straight-A student passionately interested since first grade in following in her mother's footsteps as a registered nurse. But she had to wait two years to get into Los Angeles Trade Tech's nursing program, she said, her frustration mounting as national nursing shortages worsened.

Lizbeth Gutierrez got lucky. Her wait was only six months. But that's because she won a lottery for a space at East Los Angeles College, one way that nursing schools overwhelmed with applicants now select students. There are currently 17,000 qualified California applicants waiting to enter nursing programs and more than 130,000 in other states.

As nationwide nursing shortages threaten to balloon to more than 1 million over the next several years, healthcare organizations are grappling with a range of problems, including how many foreign nurses to import, how to increase spaces at overcrowded nursing schools and how to make sure that students allowed in the programs complete them.Some are lobbying for larger quotas for foreign nurses. But many experts-and aspiring nurses themselves-are also urging policymakers to expand opportunities for Americans clamoring to become nurses.

Full Story: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-health11jun11,0,1900490.story?coll=la-home-center

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100 Posts; 3,113 Profile Views

I live in torrance, which is in the southern part of LA county. I travelled all the way from the south bay to East LA everyday for a year just to get my nursing prerequisites done. Which is a point the this article forgot to include. Even the nursing prerequisites have 2 semester waiting lists in California.

The 25% failure rate is apalling. We have lost exactly that many students this semester and it was unecessary. Nursing instructors feel very comfortable being ambivalent, unprofessional, and unsupportive. I imagine that as students we are being treated in the same way the instructors used to treat their patients. It is ugly.

The lottery system has to go. No one has any right to go to nursing school because they were willing to sit around for 2+ years. I mean c'mon. If you want something bad enough you should have to work to get it. Proud to say, my nursing school is the only one in LA county that had an entrance exam and awards slots based on performance.

And more foreign nurses is not the way to go. Its like switching from ethanol gas to diesel. Yeah, you get better mileage but diesel costs more. Foreign nurses in mass are a questionable band aid.

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I think it would also be great to fast-track all of the LPN's through the RN education, instead of making us almost start over. Many of us went for LPN instead of RN for various reasons and are now "stuck" so to speak. Most of have years of experience that we get little or no credit for when going back to get the rest of the education to become RN's. For those that want to remain LPN's--that's great also. But it sure would benefit the nursing shortage to somehow make it easier for those of us to continue on to RN that want too. Just a thought.............;)

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I think it would also be great to fast-track all of the LPN's through the RN education, instead of making us almost start over.)

Good point. They could probably create shorter courses to "refresh" the LPN's background knowledge (such as in physiology) or even incorporate it into LPN-RN programs. Why not? Good question.

My inner conspiracy theorists thinks perhaps nursing homes and hospitals that utilize LPNs fear if it were easier for LPNs to become RNs, they'd have a smaller pool of nurses they could pay less than RNs to do almost identical work.

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163 Posts; 1,550 Profile Views

:o :uhoh3:

Good point. They could probably create shorter courses to "refresh" the LPN's background knowledge (such as in physiology) or even incorporate it into LPN-RN programs. Why not? Good question.

My inner conspiracy theorists thinks perhaps nursing homes and hospitals that utilize LPNs fear if it were easier for LPNs to become RNs, they'd have a smaller pool of nurses they could pay less than RNs to do almost identical work.

Probably, if the education were funded by facilities. It would benefit american society if the government would step up and create a program to do this. They have known about the nursing shortage for years. They do quite a bit to help fund education for teachers, which we need also, but nothing for people that want to advance in nursing. Wonder why?

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I know what you mean about even pre-reqs being overcrowded. I live in Whittier and tried to get my pre-reqs done and hoped to apply for Rio Hondo Colleges ADN program. But with more people petitioning to get into Anatomy the first day of class than were already enrolled didn't look good. I was just accepted to the L.A. County-USC Medical Center ADN program for Aug. 07, but that's only after working for 2 years getting my pre-reqs at East LA, Harbor, LA City, West LA Colleges, not to mention the classes at my local college Rio Hondo. The spring of 06 I was enrolled in 3 different schools, one pre-req each - just to move the process along faster. Who knows where I would be if I waited around at my local school.

It's a scary thought of importing anymore foreign nurses. I was in the hospital for surgery and could barely understand what they were saying. Medicine is no place for any kind of language barrier!

Ok...that was my 2 cents of huffing and puffing on the subject. Good luck and patience to all of you plugging along!

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California could go a long way toward alleviating their nursing shortage if they would simply begin accepting Excelsior graduates.......

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Maybe if California would let Excelsior graduates apply for a RN license there than that should help reduce the nursing shortage there.

Magnum68

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I am so sick and tired of hearing there's a nursing shortage in California ...

There is NO nursing shortage in California.

There's only a shortage of nurses who want to work for less money and who can blame them with the high cost of living. Most hospitals don't want to pay nurses more but, when they do, there's no shortage.

Read the California forum ... the Bay Area has a surplus of nurses now. Why? because it's the highest paying area of the state and many nurses have moved there from out of state. Check out the posts where people are saying they're having trouble finding jobs there.

Or, log into the California Department of Corrections and Department of Mental Health website. Because they're now paying really well there are over 3,200 RN's who have applied for jobs. There's literally dozens of RN's competing for each opening and they're turning most of them away.

These claims about a shortage are a myth. Pay them and they will come.

Of course, hospitals want to continue to make their multi-million dollar profits at RN's expense and don't want to raise the pay so, they constantly scream shortage to justify hiring cheaper foreign nurses, new grads, etc.

But that doesn't mean there's a real shortage ... there isn't.

:typing

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Awhile back I read a big to do about millions of dollars being allocated to start again the BSN program at a major university in CA that had been shut down in the mid 90's. How much of that money will be wasted unnecessarily in the process. The reasons for shutting down the program are suddenly "no longer" valid? How uninformed TPTB must think the general public is to fall all over some bureaucrats who think they will get respect for doing everybody a big favor. The program never should have been shut down to begin with. Nursing schools, like any other enterprise, can be operated when people want them to, using the same monetary resources that are found when other pet projects are taken care of (like sports programs).

And if there were truly a shortage as described, the job market would be a lot different than what it really is. Many like to state that jobs are plentiful and easy to find. Nobody should have to move around or go for long periods unemployed or underemployed, if they want to work. Nor should they have to settle for poor situations. Not everybody is able to or wants to piece together several part time, non-benefitted jobs to make up full time employment. That is not a job market in dire need of workers. It is a job market being controlled by the corporate giants who ensure the top brass never has to work part time or take a pay cut. The jobs horizon is not as rosy as many would like to portray. Just ask any nurse who has been laid off as part of a "downsizing". If an employer needs nurses it doesn't lay off any of the nurses it already has employed. Unless of course, the reason is to hire new nurses 8 months later with less benefits, no seniority, and less pay!

I close my mind whenever I hear the myth of a nursing shortage and compare it to my own employment status over the years, as I'm sure many others do also. End of soapbox rant.

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Dorito is a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, , Home health, Education.

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I think it would also be great to fast-track all of the LPN's through the RN education, instead of making us almost start over. Many of us went for LPN instead of RN for various reasons and are now "stuck" so to speak. Most of have years of experience that we get little or no credit for when going back to get the rest of the education to become RN's. For those that want to remain LPN's--that's great also. But it sure would benefit the nursing shortage to somehow make it easier for those of us to continue on to RN that want too. Just a thought.............;)

In WI we do fast-track for the LPN's. In fact, many nurses going for RN take the boards after their first year and just continue on but at least can make a few extra dollars working as an LPN until they complete their program. We have waiting lists here as well but not nearly as bad as many other states. Perhaps they shouldn't require masters degrees for all the instructors. Many masters nurses become nurse practitioners in this area, rather than nursing instructors. Just my 2 cents worth.

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Northern CA, at least, does not have so dire a nursing shortage that employers are welcoming new grads. They say they have a shortage, but need experienced nurses, as they have already hired as many new grads as staff mix safely allows. Good story, maybe even true, but they should have thought about how to on-board a hoard of new grads when they were clamoring for the local nursing schools to ramp up their programs. The schools here did this, and jacked their tuitions to weed out the insincere, so this June, a flood of new grads with huge student loans are scrapping for a few lame jobs. When next year's applicant see this, they'll bail because they see the dim current situation, the schools already have less seats filled, and next the schools will shrink their programs again. Wham-o, back to where the alleged "shortage" started. I'm not some fussy little prima dona who will only work weekdays, or doesn't want to earn their stripes starting out in med-surg. I am however a magna cum laude grad who worked hard and paid high tuition, and did not expect to have to pound the streets for the next four months begging for a decent entry position. The "shortage" is all hype. I'm tell friends who are thinking of pursuing nursing to stay in their secure jobs and see what happens in the next few years.

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