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Facts On Nursing In California

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We must become role models for change.  




California is 50th in RNs per capita.



Californians For Patient Care
We Salute the good work this organization does informing and educating Californians on patient care issues.

   The Silent Crisis in California Healthcare:

            California in the past year dropped from 49th to 50th  in the number of RNs per capita,                      
        with more than 20% fewer nurses than the national average - 590 per 100,000 population, 
compared to 825 national average.

                   62% of nursing school qualified applicants are being turned away due to lack of
instructors and facilities.

                There are 17,875 enrolled RN majors, an 8% increase in 109 nursing programs,
an increase of six (3 private and 3 public).
There are 76 Associate Degree programs, 24 BS Degree programs,
9 entry-level MS programs.

               There are 7,505 potential RNs on waiting lists at 43 programs.

                Dropout rates average about 21%, an increase of 27%.

              Attrition claims more than 2,000 students per year.
(A dropout is more serious than other majors.
It means that the slot remains vacant for the rest of the 3-5 year program.
The slot cannot be filled, as there is no way for a new student to catch up with the class.)

              Decreasing the attrition rate by half would add about 1,000 new nurses annually.

             The most common reasons for dropping out are a financial or family emergency.

                California schools produce just slightly more than half of the state's RN need. 

            There were 6,597 graduates in 2004-05, a 7% increase.

               Average cost to educate a student is $12,100 annually, which is
significantly more than liberal arts majors.

             There are 8,749 slots available, a 12.2% increase.

         14,000 RN positions are vacant today in California hospitals,
                and federal authorities predict a shortage of nearly 50,000 in 2010.

       Obtaining faculty is the biggest barrier to more RNs
      and patient access to safe, quality care.
   88% of nursing schools report inadequate resources;
 in order of need: faculty, space and funding.

There is only $100,000 given for endowed chairs at

ALL California nursing schools.

The RN shortage will get worse before it gets better:


              Nationally, the average age of RNs was 42.1 in 2002 and will reach 45.4 by 2010.

                The average age in California is 47.7, which is "significantly older" than previous surveys.


                More than 9 out of 10 hospital Chief Nursing Officers

expect RN demand to continue to
grow over the next 3 years; nearly 90% find it difficult to recruit new RNs.

               Aging Baby Boomers will drive up hospital capacity demand by 40% by 2020.

                RN vacancy rate in hospitals averages 11%.


Clear trends in the RN profession:


 89.6% of RNs are employed full or part-time in nursing.

                There are 295,024 active RN licensees and 18,146 inactive as of 11/30/04;
61% worked in acute hospitals.

               California gained 30,288 RNs between 2000 and 2003,
but lost 27,320 to other states.

                More than 75% of hospitals rely on traveling and agency nurses
to meet staffing mandates.

                About three-quarters need overtime on a routine basis
cover staffing requirements.

                Agency nurses increased from 5.2% in 1990 to 8% of the workforce in 2004.

                In 2004, 28.7% worked part-time, 58.8% full-time and 12.5% were not working.

               14.3% live outside California.


          Diversity is a goal.  
                      Nursing remains a female-dominated profession -
          82% of students are women.
       Ethnicity percentages are: Caucasian, 43%; Asian-American, 24%;
 Hispanic, 19%; African-American, 6% and other, 8%.



         This is a partial report prepared by Californians For Patient Care
Kristine Yahn ~ Executive Director

Statistics compiled by Bob Gore






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