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Arizona will need about 49,000 additional RNs by 2017 to keep pace with its growing population and to replace retiring RNs and those lost to attrition, according to "The Facts: Arizona's RN Shortage," released in June 2008 by HealthWorks, the Arizona Healthcare Workforce Data Center. This fact sheet contains the most recent available information from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

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Arizona is the second-fastest-growing state in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau data highlighted in the fact sheet. Yet, with only 681 RNs per 100,000 residents, it has less than the national average of 825 RNs per 100,000 residents. The fact sheet also calls attention to the lack of capacity in Arizona's nursing education programs, which means the state cannot graduate an adequate number of RNs. As in other states, a shortage of nursing faculty appears to be the cause of the problem.


More than one-third of Arizona's current RNs are older than 55. To replace those who choose to retire and those lost to an approximately 3.5% annual RN attrition rate, the report suggests that some 29,000 RNs will be needed. However, as the fact sheet was released before the current economic downturn, these numbers may differ slightly from 2010 estimates. Today RNs are tending to delay retirement and are holding onto their current positions until the economy improves.



Despite the difficulties some new graduates face in finding a job in California, an article published in the May 2009 issue of Healthcare Finance News suggests that there's still a nursing shortage in the state. According to Deloras Jones, RN, the executive director of the Oakland-based California Institute for Nursing and Health Care, who was quoted in the article, new graduates may not find a job in their first choice of facility or location, but "opportunities are growing in ambulatory and non-acute settings as care shifts away from hospitals."


Jones was also quoted in "California Nursing Grads See Job Choices Wilt in Broken Economy," an April 2009 article published on Nurse.com. She describes the state's elastic nursing workforce's ability to "flex up" and "flex down" in response to economic trends. "One reason the nurse workforce can flex up is because 40% of California nurses work part time," she says, "which means it's easy to take on an extra shift if there's an economic hardship in the family."


In both articles, Jones emphasizes the need to continue to support nursing education. In the Nurse.com article, she says it's "really, really dangerous" to assume the shortage is easing just because new graduates are slow to find jobs. "We've built a 54% increase in educational capacity over the past four years, and we can't afford to lose those gains," she said.


Yuma Regional Medical Center


2400 S. Avenue A


Yuma, AZ 85364


Contact: Professional Recruiter


(800) 726-YUMA (9862)


Fax: (928) 336-7677


E-mail: hr@yumaregional.org


Web site: http://www.yumaregional.org


UCLA Health System


10920 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400


Los Angeles, CA 90095


Contact: Sheri Monsein, RN


(866) 895-6690


Fax: (310) 825-3102


E-mail: smonsein@mednet.ucla.edu


Web site: http://hr.healthcare.ucla.edu