Rise in patients leads to nursing shortage

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November 22nd, 2010

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22 percent rise in employment of registered nurses by 2018. This trend is reflected in Lompoc, California, where the number of professionals with advanced nursing degrees cannot meet the demand for patients in need, the Lompoc Record reports.

Many facilities have to discharge patients earlier in the day to free up bed space for incoming individuals.

Both the Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC) and the Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) have turned to staffing agencies, to which they are paying a premium in an effort to meet the growing demand for nurses.

However, certain medical services require a level of expertise that lesser-trained health clerks may not have. Jayne Scalise, nursing administrator at LVMC, says that the shortage is in specialty areas such as obstetrics and critical care, of which many recent college graduates have no expertise.

In addition, many school nurses traditionally teach health classes. As a solution to the shortage, LUSD has been hiring travelling nurses, who are expensive. Bob Altavilla, director of LUSD Auxiliary Services explains that students require nursing professionals who are familiar with insulin injections, gastrostomy tube feedings and catheterization.

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