News23ABC In-Depth


How bad is the nursing shortage in Kern County?

Posted: 5:29 PM, Oct 04, 2021
Updated: 2021-10-04 20:29:23-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — According to a 2020 report from the Department of Health Care Access and Information, the local area with the highest registered nurses shortage is the Delano and McFarland area. The report adopted custom geography for RNSAs based on the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare methodology for hospital service areas.

In 2007, the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission (Commission) adopted formal criteria for establishing Registered Nurse Shortage Areas (RNSA). During the June 2020 policy meeting, the Commission voted to revise the methodology using per-capita based calculations and a custom geographic unit of analysis. The Commission also voted to incorporate the degree of shortage into the RNSA designation, categorizing them as high, medium, or low severity areas. The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) updated the RNSA designations with the new methodology and the most recently available data.
California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission

  • In 2020 the Delano/McFarland area had a population of 92,273 with only 219 registered nurses.
  • Bakersfield/Oildale area had a population of 717,249 with just under 5,000 nurses.
  • Lake Isabella/Weldon area had a population of 14,969 with only 83 nurses.
  • And Ridgecrest/China Lake Acres area had a population of 37,074 with 162 nurses.

Keep in mind those are the most recent numbers. Since the pandemic has continued on several officials have said the nursing shortage has only become worse.

Registered Nurse Shortage Areas Report