Advisory-Hospital Staffing Shortages Draw Hundreds of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals to Rally at State Capitol on May 7

NOTE: We can schedule interviews before the event and on the day of the rally. Photos and video of the rally will be available for media after the event here.

Hospital Staffing Shortages Draw Hundreds of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals to Rally at State Capitol on May 7

More than 400 healthcare union members return to Sacramento during Nurses Week in a direct appeal to elected leaders: Fix education backlog and staffing issues that impact patient care.

Anjetta Thackeray | | 909-455-5146
Jeff Rogers | | 909-263-7230
Karin Mak | |909-929-5878

United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals
Charmaine S. Morales, RN, UNAC/UHCP President
Peter Sidhu, RN, UNAC/UHCP Executive Vice President
Lorena Gonzalez, California Labor Federation Secretary-Treasurer
Other speakers from labor, healthcare, and elected office to be determined

Rally at State Capitol

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Rally Program: union members, and community, healthcare and elected leaders to address making healthcare education and training programs more accessible in communities across California and empowering healthcare professionals with more information about hospital staffing shortages.

California Capitol West Steps, 10th Street and Capitol Avenue, Sacramento

More than 400 nurses, joined by other healthcare professionals who work alongside nurses, rally in front of the Capitol. Nurses can share detailed stories about how the healthcare staffing crisis affects their work and their communities, and how new education pathways and staffing enforcement accountability can attract and retain RNs.

SACRAMENTO_Experts predict that more nurses will leave the bedside in the next 10 years and that other healthcare professionals may follow suit. (see Facts below) UNAC/UHCP members throughout California will return to Sacramento, urging solutions that will lead more students to remain in their communities for their healthcare careers, and empower them to enforce safe staffing in their hospitals.

Organized during Nurses Week, the rally highlights the urgent need for investment in nurse education and support for all healthcare professionals struggling with too many patients and insufficient staff to provide the safest care.

“Getting my nursing degree at my local community college was the path that allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse without going into debt,” said Charmaine S. Morales, a registered nurse and president of UNAC/UHCP. “We cannot ignore the impact of the education backlog on hospital staffing and patient outcomes.”

Morales added that current nurses and care providers feel their staffing complaints have fallen on deaf ears: “We need to improve how our state agencies handle short staffing. We cannot fix this crisis alone.”

Union members will urge elected officials to prioritize the next generation of caregivers by supporting legislation to expand advanced degree programs to community colleges and increase clinical placement opportunities for nursing students. The supply of nurses heavily relies on the state’s higher education system, particularly California community college nursing programs, which train and supply a sizable proportion of California’s nurses.

UNAC/UHCP members will visit their local representatives in Sacramento to discuss current proposals. We are asking elected officials to:

  • Increase funding for nursing programs at community colleges in the state: California leaders can directly address nursing shortages with a $60 million budget proposal to expand nursing programs hosted by more than 70 community colleges in the state.
  • Expand access to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees: By making advanced study programs available at the community college level, legislators can ensure students receive the necessary training to deliver high-quality, culturally competent care in their communities. (Senate Bill 895-Richard Roth)
  • Expand clinical training for nursing students: Nursing students must complete clinical placement hours, but placements are not always available or accessible. With this legislation to increase hospital capacity to offer this training, more nursing students can graduate and enter the workforce. (Assembly Bill 1577-Evan Low and Senate Bill 1042-Richard Roth)
  • Improve how the state provides information on safe staffing enforcement: When the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) finds a substantiated violation of licensed nurse-patient ratio rules and informs a general acute care hospital of the actions the agency plans to take, CDPH must also transmit the same information to the person who filed the claim of violation and their collective bargaining agent or representative, if any. The bill also mandates that if the department does not impose a fine, CDPH must send a statement explaining why to the person who filed the violation claim and any collective bargaining agent or representative. (Assembly Bill 2899-Jesse Gabriel)



  • The turnover rate for registered nurses is about 18 percent, down from a pandemic high of 27 percent. (2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report)
  • But the cost of replacing a nurse who leaves the bedside is staggering, and the education pipeline is still not producing enough graduates to meet patients’ needs: Hospitals say they lose $3.9 million to $5.8 million on replacing registered nurses who quit their jobs. Replacing just one nurse will cost $56,300. (2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report)
  • If a hospital can drive its turnover rate down a single percentage point, it can save a quarter of a million dollars in associated replacement, recruitment, and training costs. (2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report)
  • In California, a state with 40 million residents, there are 338,000 nurses – a ratio of only 844 nurses per 100,000 population. To bring California up to the national average would require another 74,000 nurses. (UCSF Healthcare Workforce Center)
  • California’s nursing schools need to increase enrollment by 60 percent to avoid such shortages. (California Policy Center)
  • Employers say they want to hire new nurses with bachelor’s degrees. Almost 30% of employers want new hires to have a bachelor’s degree, and 72% strongly prefer nurses with a bachelor’s degree. (American Association of Colleges of Nursing)
  • The supply of nurses relies heavily on the state’s higher education system, specifically California community college nursing programs, which train and supply many nurses in California. Community college Associate Degree for Nursing (ADN) programs account for 55.4% of the total nursing programs in the state, graduate about half of the state’s nurses, and satisfy about 21% of the state’s demand for nurses (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)
  • Other healthcare professions are not immune to shortages: There’s been a steady drop in applications to pharmacy schools, falling 64% from nearly 100,000 in 2012 to about 36,000 in 2022. (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy)




United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 35,000 registered nurses and health care professionals in California and Hawaii, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners; hospital support and technical staff. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.

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