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California Making Progress in Solving Nursing Shortage

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Aired 4/19/09

California appears to be making progress towards solving its chronic shortage of nurses. A new report says the state's nursing programs should graduate 68 percent more nurses this year than in 2004. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The new study attributes the increase to a $90 million nurse education initiative the state began in 2005. It's a partnership between community colleges and the healthcare industry to expand nursing programs. Joanne Spetz is with the UC San Francisco School of Nursing. She says the trend towards more graduates is encouraging, but she has one main concern.

Spetz: About 30 percent of admission spaces in nursing programs right now are coming from grants. Which means if the grant money dries up, then our number of enrollments and thus graduations is going to drop again.

Community colleges do most of the nurse training in California. But Spetz says recently, the UC system has invested more in undergraduate nursing education.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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