Lawyers or nurses?

California has lots of lawyers, says the state’s Postsecondary Education Commission. Yet legislators voted money for a law school at University of California at Irvine.

Nurses are in short supply, notes Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee.

Even though there’s been a significant increase in training programs in recent years, the state has an estimated 17,000 qualified nursing applicants on schools’ waiting lists.

The Legislature’s budget analyst, Elizabeth Hill, issued a report on the state’s looming shortage of nurses in May, noting that the University of California, in a study by its San Francisco medical school, forecast a demand for registered nurses in 2014 that’s 40,000 higher than the current forecast of supply, given retirement and other factors.

Demand will continue to outpace supply, at least from in-state sources, as baby-boom generation nurses retire and they and other members of that immense cohort require more nursing care.

The Legislature ignored Hill’s suggestions to expand nursing education. It’s more prestigious for a UC campus to have a law school.

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  1. Don’t you see? We need more lawyers to sue the doctors and nurses.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder if there is data that shows that nurses are lousy alumni for a university. Nurses probably donate little to the old alma mater nor return to pay seat licensing fees nor help recruit.

  3. Makes sense. The lawyers can sue the hospitals for not having enough nurses to provide proper patient care.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I’m sure prestige is part of it. Also, I suspect that a law school brings in more money than a nursing school does, both because the law school is cheaper to set up and because lawyers are more likely to become state legislators than nurses are.

  5. Andy Freeman says:

    I’ll bet that lawyers donate more money to politicians and parties than do nurses.

  6. From the article, it looked like the cuprit here is not the legislature, but rather the university system itself.

    I’m not familiar with the California university budgeting process–wonder if the university system can actually decide on allocations like this without legislative approval, or if this is merely chest-beating on their part?

  7. Law schools are profitmakers for their host universities. Nursing education is a money-loser.

    There’s also the issue of clinical sites. Even if the uni had the money to burn on expanded nursing education, it probably wouldn’t have enough clinical sites (i.e. hospital cooperation) to train the nurses properly. We’ve run into that at my cc, where the student demand for nursing far exceeds the supply, but we’re constrained both by our own budget and by lack of clinical sites. So we do waitlists. It isn’t ideal, but it isn’t really in our hands, either.

  8. With what I know about the California Bar, I’d expect them to have strongly opposed this, too: more law schools means more new lawyers each year means more competition, which is exactly what those with the golden ticket of a bar license do NOT want. It’s why the California Bar Exam is notoriously the hardest in the country, the only one with less than a 50% pass rate.

  9. Number of legislature representatives with law degrees?
    Number of legislature representatives with nursing degrees?

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    What is the commitment of service now for a military nursing education?
    There used to be some ringading Army med schools near San Antonio.

  11. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    Walter – Having grown up in the shadow of Fort Sam Houston for much of my childhood, I can tell you that those schools are indeed alive and well – and about to get a lot bigger when they start teaching medicine to ALL the branches of service in the near future.

  12. You can’t import lawyers from the Philipines.

  13. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Great idea, Myrtle – trade a lawyer for a nurse.

  14. tybee 317 says:

    Myrtle, I am an OR nurse and I am expected to orient a Phillipine nurse and also one from Bulgaria, I have been making a lot of OT.


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