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Report: Valley Faces Looming Nursing Shortage

Kaweah Delta Health Care District
Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia (file photo)

A new study from the UCSF Healthforce Center has ominous news for the valley’s health care system. According to the authors, demand for registered nurses in the San Joaquin Valley is projected to grow by 35 percent over the next 12 years. But at the same time, the region’s total number of RNs is expected to actually decline, creating a serious shortfall. Some estimates put the regional RN shortage as high as 10,000 by 2030. So what’s behind the decline? Why is it an issue in the San Joaquin Valley specifically? And what can be done to solve it? We recently spoke with one of the co-author of the study, Joanne Spetz and also Regina Sawyer, vice president and chief nursing officer (CNO) at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia to learn more.