Schools across California face challenges recruiting people to teach future nurses

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Cal State Los Angeles is turning students away from its nursing program because there is not enough people to teach them.  It’s a similar situation happening at other schools around the state.

In a recent healthcare forum Cal State in Bakersfield acknowledged the shortage of nurses in the central valley and the challenges of recruitment for the region, but they’re not alone.

Jillian Acosta knows the benefits of being a nurse.

“There’s always hospitals being built. There’s always urgent cares being built, doctor’s offices, there’s always somewhere a nurse is needed,” she said.

The goal is to land a job locally as the nursing field promises plenty of potential for professional growth.

“I can go either from nursing to be a charge nurse, which requires your bachelors, even on up to being a nurse practitioner,” she said.

Students in the nursing program learn the basics and some even take EMT courses where they learn everything form CPR to giving birth.

“Pretty much anything that you can think of, realistic-wise and a real patient, this patient can do it.  We can stick IV’s in them, we can make your blood pressure decrease, increase and you will hear them breathe and see their chest raise and fall,” said instructor, Brent Burton.

But the problem many students face is getting in the program.

“I take 60 students in the program in every semester and we routinely get about 500 applications every semester and out of that 500 probably around 350 or so are truly qualified so, it’s probably a four for one,” said Cindy Collier, dean of nursing at Bakersfield College.

Much like Cal State, Allied Health at Bakersfield College is aware of the shortage of teachers and of nurses across the country.

“We’ve always been short in comparison when the nursing shortage hit nationwide, California was one of the worst states in the nation,” she said.

An average nurse can make close to $90,000 a year, while pay for someone teaching future nurses is about $71,000.

“I see that it can get worse especially, as I look at my faculty.  Some of them are looking at retirement in the next five years. So, then what will I do,” she said.

Area lawmakers are working educators on a plan to ensure that healthcare workforce needs are met in Kern County.

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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