A bill from a local congressman hopes to address a growing nursing shortage.
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, proposed legislation to create a federal task force to find solutions for a coming shortage of nurses.
“The United States is at the precipice of what I believe is a devastating, potentially a catastrophic shortage of nursing in the near term and in the long term,” Costa said.
San Joaquin Valley Particularly Affected
He said a shortage of between 6,000 and 9,000 nurses is expected by 2030 in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Think about that. That’s devastating,” said Costa.
The legislation would select a group of nurses, educators, and more to look into educational practices and see what government can do to address the shortfall.
The San Joaquin Valley is the hardest hit in the state in terms of nursing availability, said Marianne Biangone, a professor at the University of California San Francisco school of nursing.
Fresno State Nursing Program Impacted
At Fresno State, nursing remains one of the most highly impacted and competitive programs on campus, said Denise Seabert, dean of the university’s College of Health and Human Services.
“It highlights the popularity of the nursing profession among our impassioned students,” Seabert said.
Of the 150 nursing students that come out of the program each year, 100% find employment before graduating and a majority stay local, Seabert said.
Costa said faculty shortages have shrunk the pipeline of new nurses. Teachers of nursing get paid less than if they were working at a hospital, he said.
He also attributed the shortage to burnout following the pandemic, saying 28% of registered nurses — roughly 1 million — said they plan to leave the profession in the next five years.
“This is a crisis that cannot wait to address because it is here upon us now,” Costa said. “It’s long overdue that we do what we can to address the nursing shortage in our Valley and in our nation.”