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L.A. Professor Works To Combat Nursing Shortage

Aided by pressing needs to replace retiring workers, and the impact of healthcare reform, the number of job openings for registered nurses is projected to reach over a half-million within the next eight years. This comes at a time when Los Angeles is grappling with a nursing shortage that is caused not by a lack of interest, but a deficit in the amount of classroom space nursing schools are able to provide. In effect, L.A.'s leading institutions of higher learning must filter through expansive pools of qualified candidates to handpick exemplary nursing hopefuls.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Marianne Hatter-Pollara)

"We do our part by effectively utilizing the enrollment slots through extensive screenings of applicants to ensure not only that they meet the admission criteria, but also if they're fit to become nurses," said Dr. Marianne Hatter-Pollara, a professor and chair of the nursing department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). "We want to invest in those students who have the calling and passion to become professional nurses for the right reasons and for the long run."

Hattar-Pollara said CSUN remains conscientious in its effort to do what it can to help mitigate the nursing shortage.

"Ultimately, our aim is to create a School of Nursing with needed infrastructure resources to support larger increases in student enrollment," Hattar-Pollar said. "We are seeking grant support to expand further the nursing program and our physical space to increase enrollment."

What other measures is CSUN initiating?

"Faculty members are in the process of completing a proposal to offer a Master's in Nursing program. This should address shortage issues in the area of advanced practice in nursing."

What is your message to L.A.'s academic community?

"Given the aging nursing workforce, we are pressed for time to mentor and offer opportunities for developing future nursing leadership. We need to also collectively intensify our efforts to meet current and projected health care needs by ensuring timely preparation of qualified and competent nurses."

What is your advice to endeavoring nurses?

"The opportunities in nursing are vast. With the Affordable Health Care Act in place, their career goals need to include all avenues, especially in public health."

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to

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