Here at CDI, we’ve been spreading the word about the nursing shortage for a long time. Retiring nurses (often called the “silver tsunami”), an aging population, and the increased popularity of the profession putting a strain on nursing schools are just three reasons that there will be an ongoing shortfall of nurses well into the future.
From data taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2022, the U.S. will have a demand for over 1.2 million nurse jobs. Today, the pandemic has amplified the need for qualified, licensed, experienced nurses even more. We pulled together some statistics just to give you an idea of how desperate the situation for qualified nurses really is.
Why Become an LVN in California? Higher Pay for Travel Nurses
With more nurses needed to administer COVID vaccinations, traveling nurses are being offered as much as $11,000 a week. Prime Staffing, a healthcare staffing agency in New York, typically offers nurses anywhere from $100-$200 an hour and is also offering to pay for lodging and travel during the pandemic.
During the pandemic if there’s one thing that we learned: a nursing career is essentially recession proof.
California is Competing with the Nation for Available Nurses
Early in the pandemic, when outbreaks were limited to only a handful of regions, travel nurses were available to meet the surge. Today, those same nurses are needed all over the country, particularly in California as the state struggles to reign in COVID infections. The other challenge is that various fires throughout the state have closed some regional hospitals, increasing demand for workers and providers in other facilities.
The result? LVNs are one of the highest paid professions in the country.
California has One of the Lowest Nurse to Patient Ratios in the Country
In 2019, nursing was ranked as the third-most in-demand profession in the U.S. As the population continued to spike in California, that demand for nurses grew, but the available spots for training nurses at educational facilities could not keep pace with that demand. That means that even before the pandemic, there simply weren’t enough nurses to maintain staffing ratios in our region’s hospitals.
Today: California ranks as third in the country for the lowest patient to nurse ratios, with fewer than 10 nurses per 1,000 residents. (Compare that to over 16 nurses per 1,000 people in less populous states like Wyoming.)
Where are Nurses Needed More in California?
The Southland with its warm weather and beaches has long been one of the most populated regions in the country. Los Angeles also leads the state as the city with the largest demand for new nurses. In fact, L.A. is one of five cities nationally with the lowest concentration of nurse employment.
By 2030, California will have a demand of nearly 400,000 nurses. At that rate, nursing programs will continue to struggle to graduate and certify new students to keep up, ensuring that salaries will stay competitive and employers will offer benefits, like tuition reimbursement, to attract and retain talent.
How to Become a Nurse in California
Becoming a nurse is hard work. There’s no question that no matter where you enroll in nursing school, the program will challenge you in ways that maybe you couldn’t have imagined. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a try, especially as more and more counties and cities throughout the state are going to need nurses of all levels in the next 5-10 years.
First, consider enrolling in an accredited nursing school that offers online classes. Of course, you will need to complete your clinical hours in person, but during the pandemic, try and find a spot that respects your safety and allows you to attend classes from the safety of your home.
Two, if you’re not already enrolled in a four year school, consider enrolling in an LVN program in Los Angeles or nearby. Why? An LVN program will get you in the field sooner, and are often easier to get into than a four-year BSN program. Remember: you can always attend school for your BSN after you’ve been working for a few years which gives you an even stronger advantage over students who are brand new to the field.
Lastly, when you decide you’re ready to enroll, do your homework. Make sure the school is accredited, and ask for references or testimonials. Also, one of the reasons that employers say that they’re having a hard time finding new nursing grads? Because many nurses fail to pass the certification once they’re out of school. So, as you’re applying, ask about the pass rate for the NCLEX and how the school will help guide you through the exam prep process.
No matter how you decide to become a nurse in California, remember that even after this pandemic is in our rearview mirror, you’re entering a field that needs you long, long into the future.
Ready to discuss your options of becoming an LVN? Contact us today.