California takes steps to address growing demand for nurses

MONTEBELLO, Calif. (KABC) -- Demand for nurses is increasing as baby boomers get older, but hospitals like Beverly Hospital in Montebello say there's not enough nurses available.

They're not the only Southern California hospital dealing with a nursing shortage that's projected to get worse.

"We're experiencing nurses that are aging out of the job market. Nearly about 25% of our nurses are over the age of 55," said Frank Miller, the Administrative Director for Human Resources at Beverly Hospital.

According to RegisteredNursing.org, by 2030, the demand for registered nurses in California will be roughly 388,000.

But, the number of nurses is projected at 343,000 which is 44,500 less than needed, so hospitals are doing everything they can to recruit registered nurses, which includes signing bonuses and partnering with academic institutions.

Beverly Hospital has partnered with East L.A. College, Rio Hondo College and West Coast University to recruit nursing students.

Another issue facing the industry is the need for bilingual nurses. Three out of 10 people in California speak Spanish at home.

According to the American Community Survey and the California Board of Registered Nursing, in 2013, just one of 10 nurses in the state spoke Spanish.

In 2019, that number was up to two out of 10 nurses speaking Spanish. Hospitals say a bilingual workforce is key to patient care.

"Bilingual nurses are needed to explain discharge needs to patients, so they know how to care for themselves when they get home. If you try to explain to a patient and you're not speaking their same language, they're going to get home and come right back to the hospital," said Debra Fisher, an RN and RN Educator at Beverly Hospital.
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