Nursing Shortage in California: How Leaving Cali Can Actually Help

You probably read the title and wondered how leaving California would help its shortage. It’s an interesting phenomenon. With fewer nurse educators to teach in the classroom and in the field, qualified nursing students in California remain just that. So how do California residents get into the nursing field? They could wait to be admitted into a local nursing school. Or they could take matters into their own hands. Given the unpredictable amount of time a student might be required to wait to attend a California nursing school, it might be more favorable to complete a nursing program out of state, and then return home to help with the nursing shortage in California. Let’s take a closer look at this to see if relocating is really worth it.

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So why is there a nursing shortage in California?

Before we can address the nurses or health care industry of today, we absolutely have to look at the people, nurses and educators of yesterday. There are more Americans older than 65 years of age today than there have ever been in U.S. history. And according to a study by the Health Services Research journal, the baby boomer generation will account for nearly 69 million Americans by 2030; that means one in five Americans will be a senior citizen. So it’s apparent that as this population ages, they will be in need of care (hence, the increased need for nurses). But there’s more beneath the surface.

During the time when baby boomers entered the workforce, job opportunities were limited. As a result, the field of nursing became extremely popular. Exploring this, you’ll find that not only are there millions of senior citizens in the U.S., but many of them are nurses. Approximately one third of the current nursing workforce is older than 50 and will reach the retirement age within the next 15 years. These nurses were originally expected to work well into retirement age, and were projected to retire by 2024. However, according to an article by The Wall Street Journal, improvements in the economy and nursing industry is causing a retirement wave to happen right now.

Now that you have the facts, let’s look at how it affects you.

How do baby boomers really affect today’s generation of nurses?

When you think about this, it may not initially seem like a huge concern. It may sound like a grand opportunity for younger nurses to join the scene. Unfortunately, the absence of older, more experienced nurses does not only affect those within a hospital room or doctor’s office. It affects those hoping to get training. Without enough experienced nurses to teach nursing education courses or train nurses during skills labs and clinical rotations, nursing programs lack what they need to accept students. Therefore, students are limited in their opportunities to grow. Imagine that – nurse instructors in need of health care but there aren’t enough trained nurses to go around. That’s the nursing shortage in a nutshell… but now what?

  • News media and health care blogs throughout the country have been successful at pointing out the “what”: there are more nursing jobs available than nurses to fill them.
  • They have also done a pretty good job of getting at “why”: there are more nursing students than nursing schools can admit. Yes, the problem isn’t a lack of interest in the profession, but more-so a lack of resources to prepare those who are interested.

Yet, this probably is not news to you. There’s a crisis, a shortage, a problem… but, how do we solve it?

Create Your Own Path Into Nursing: These Students Did

As a person living in California, interested in helping the nursing shortage in California, and qualified to enter a nursing program, how do you break into the field as soon as possible when there aren’t resources readily available?

While there are statewide initiatives being created to help address the shortage of nurses and nurse instructors, there’s another route that doesn’t require you to wait on the manifestation of these programs. You could move! Yep, you could temporarily relocate to a place that has a nursing school with more student capacity.

Relocating from Cali to Nevada

Shaun Rose, Roseman University ABSN student from California.

Shaun Rose, Roseman University ABSN student from California.

That’s what Shaun Rose did, a 2015 graduate of Roseman University’s ABSN program.

“I was willing to move to get into the career faster,” Shaun says. “There’s like a two-year waiting list for some nursing programs and some do lottery pools.”

Once he moved, Shaun found that he wasn’t the only one in his program who had relocated for a better opportunity.

“Most of us had to uproot our lives to move,” Shaun explains. “In my case, my wife stayed behind. We sold our house and she moved back in with parents. For six months, she worked there [in California] and I went to school here [in Nevada].”

Shaun said his wife eventually moved to Nevada because being apart was difficult, but he has no regrets.

“I think Roseman prepared us more than we thought for when we got out,” Shaun says. “I graduated in October, took the NCLEX in November, and passed on the first try. It was also nice because I had a job before I even took the NCLEX.”

Shaun has already started working as a nurse, while some of his previous coworkers who were interested in nursing are still waiting to start a nursing program.

“We dropped everything we had [in California] to give it a shot and make it work,” Shaun says. “If you’re willing to make the move, it’s worth it in the end.”

Choosing Utah Over Cali

Lacy VerSteeg, Roseman University ABSN student from California.

Lacy VerSteeg, Roseman University ABSN student from California.

Lacy VerSteeg is also from California, but relocated to Salt Lake City where she is attending Roseman University’s ABSN program.

Growing up in the little town of Oak Grove, California, Lacy wanted to attend nursing school in her home state. She had completed her undergraduate studies in New York, but was ready to return home to pursue nursing.

“I wanted to do an ABSN program to expedite the process, but [didn’t like] the waitlist and the time you needed to get into a program in California.”

Lacy’s love for her home lead her to search primarily in California, but she considered Roseman University as well.

“I initially focused on California and applied to a couple [schools there], but I hadn’t even heard back from those programs by the time I heard back – and was accepted to – Roseman,” she says.

Though Salt Lake City wasn’t her first choice, Lacy said she “fell in love with it.” She misses home but realizes her move is only temporary.

“When I did my interview it just felt right, Lacy says. “Ever since I’ve moved here, I’ve loved it. Being away from my family sucks, but… I’m only here for a year.”

If you are considering nursing, or have been on a waitlist for a while, take your future into your own hands and consider Roseman University’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Once you become a nurse, the option is yours to stay in Nevada or Utah, return to help with the nursing shortage in California, or move elsewhere.

Don’t allow a little distance to come between you and your dream to be a nurse. Contact us today to get information about the ABSN program. You could have your degree in as few as 16 months!

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