California Nursing School Initiative Targets Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Males
Enrollment in California community college nursing programs has increased by 60% over the past three years, with minority enrollment increasing by 13%, largely as a result of the three-year, $10 million Nursing Diversity Initiative, New America Media reports. Much of the minority student increase is among Hispanics.
The University of California-San Francisco Center for California Health Workforce Studies evaluated the program.
The Nursing Diversity Initiative, funded by the California Endowment, was aimed at encouraging more Hispanics, Asian-Americans and males to enroll in nursing programs in California's Central Valley to counterbalance the state's nursing shortage. There are currently 589 registered nurses per 100,000 state residents, compared with the national average of 825 registered nurses per 100,000 people, according to a 2004 U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration report.
The six counties targeted -- Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare -- have 497 registered nurses per 100,000 residents, and because of the area's high poverty rate and remote location, hospitals have a more difficult time attracting and retaining physicians and nurses.
Increasing enrollment is only part of the solution to the state's nursing shortage, as there is also a shortage of nursing faculty; however, many program administrators say it is difficult to maintain enrollment improvements without additional aid, according to New America Media (Gokhale, New America Media, 2/6).