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Which state has the lowest number of employed nurses per 100,000 population? With the United States at 825, it is California, at only 590, according to the recently released preliminary findings of the March 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN).


And although the state is close to the national percent of nurses who are actually employed in nursing, about 71,000 California nurses (33.9%) work part time.


With mandated ratios now well established, California hospitals must keep up their staffing. Going out of state to attract nurses is one option. The March 2004 NSSRN estimated that California had 25.5% of the nation's foreign-educated nurses working in that state-by far the highest percentage of foreign-educated nurses of any state. Next closest was Florida, at 9.3%. California is also popular for travel nurses. One nurse who took a travel assignment at a Level 1 trauma center in Southern California last year said most of the people she worked with there were "from someplace else."


As large the state is, and as great as the need is to recruit and retain nurses there, the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet Program, an established tool for recruitment and retention, has not been widely embraced. Of the 192 Magnet facilities, currently accredited, only seven are in California: Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles; Children's Hospital Central California, Madera; El Camino Hospital, Mountain View; Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach; and University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Orange.


But it is not all bad news. Although the cost of living, especially housing, is high in many parts of the state, California is the top paying state for RNs (average is $69,140 per year), according to the November 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Also, all five of the country's top five highest paying metropolitan areas are in California: San Jose, $87,500; Oakland, $80,470; San Francisco, $78,240; Salinas, $74,100; and Modesto, $72,990.


Your Guide to Job Opportunities in California



8723 Alden Dr., SSB-110


Los Angeles, CA 90048


Contact: Thea Bruzdzinski


(310) 423-6320


Fax: (310) 423-0378




Web site:


UCLA Healthcare


10920 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400


Los Angeles, CA 90095


Contact: Sheri Monsein, RN


(866) 895-6690


Fax: (310) 825-3102




Web site:


Memorial Medical Center


1800 Coffee Road


Modesto, CA 95355


Contact: Jill Steele


(209) 572-7194




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