There is a highly significant shortage of nurses in the state of California. In fact, some 78% of people in the state live in a Registered Nurse Shortage Area (RNSA). Indeed, in the Sierra and Alpine areas, there are no registered nurse facilities at all.
The worst shortage in nurses can be found in the field of Nurse Educators. Some 8,883 students that qualified for a student position at one of the nursing schools in the state had to be turned away because there is no faculty available to teach them. This is particularly shocking considering that there are 42 schools in the state that are accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. As a result, the Nurse Educator role is one of the most interesting fields of work in California itself. In response to this, federal and state funding have been made available to a number of nursing specializations. The Nurse Educator is one of them, as is the adult/gerontology specialization and nurse anesthetist.
There are various reasons as to why there is such a significant shortage. One of the main reasons, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is because the current workforce is made up largely of baby boomers who are approaching or, in some cases, have passed retirement age. Additionally, the changing health needs of the aging population and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act mean that there is more demand on healthcare workers as well. Finally, the overall health needs of the population are changing, particularly as a result of the nationwide obesity epidemic.
About 10.4% of the current nursing workforce in California is made up of Advance Practice Registered Nurses. Although this is a low percentage, it is higher than in many other states, which is a positive development. Indeed, those who have a master’s degree tend to have much better job opportunities than those with a bachelor’s degree or below. Additionally, many employers are implementing schemes to allow those who do not have a master’s degree to take part in financially supported master’s degree educational arrangements.
The median annual salary for a Registered Nurse in California is $72,000, which is above the national average. However, the cost of living is also much higher in the state. Furthermore, actual salaries vary quite significantly, with the highest earners being the cardiac catheterization lab nurses and the lowest earners being the oncology nurses. Qualifications, experience and geographical location are all of importance in terms of salary.