Calif. nursing shortage looms

It's hardly surprising, but still sobering. According to new state projections, California could see a shortfall of 12,000 full-time registered nurses over the next seven years if things don't change. This is, in part, because there are far fewer slots in nursing schools than there are interested applicants. Last year, only 11,000 out of 28,410 applicants were accepted into the state's nursing programs. What's more, those that enter the programs often drop out. In fact, a full 25 percent of community college students don't graduate.

To avoid the coming crisis, the state's universities and community college must bring in more nursing students and slash dropout rates, according to a new report. The report recommends that the state offer bonuses to schools where student graduation rates improve. It also suggests that the state boost the number of grants it offers to students who go on to join nursing faculties. The state, which has 230,000 registered nurses, will need 40,000 more full-time nurses by 2014 to meet the state's growing needs.

To find out more about the projected shortage:
- read this Sacramento Bee piece