California State University, Los Angeles has landed a $2.4 million dollar federal grant to help graduate more nurses. The grant will go toward $15,000 scholarships for distribution over four years to nursing students who successfully apply.
The money arrives as the university and other higher education institutions try to ramp up graduation rates and help alleviate a statewide nursing shortage. The shortage is particularly acute in working-class Latino, African American, and Asian neighborhoods like those around Cal State L.A.
“We want to see nurses that are representatives of the community and that are able to serve across cultures and to give good, quality care no matter the kinds of patient,” said Nnenna Weathers, who teaches nursing at Cal State L.A. She said research indicates that patients treated by nurses of their own ethnicity or race, or nurses with a high degree of cultural sensitivity, fare better in the healing process.
Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said the Cal State L.A. grant delivers good news because the state is not producing the 6,000 new nurses is needs each year.
He said hospitals are desperately seeking nurses with several years' experience. “The fresh-out-of-school nurse will find it difficult right now to get employed by a hospital. They’ll need to go into the other sectors of the health care workforce,” he said.
Those sectors include doctors' offices, clinics, urgent care centers, and nursing homes.