Staff shortage, extra shifts, burnout, resignations: The vicious cycle behind the nurse shortage

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Nurses were physically and mentally fried before COVID-19 took over, and the pandemic has only made things worse. That’s according to an October report by the United Nurses Association of California and the Union of Health Care Professionals.

Nurses and other health care workers are leaving the profession, and some are finding much higher-paying work as traveling nurses. All of that is causing problems for many hospitals, especially in California, which the report says is facing the greatest nursing shortage in all 50 states.

KCRW speaks with a nurse at Riverside Community Hospital about how the shortage is affecting her and her peers, and the vice president of Methodist Hospital in Arcadia offers possible solutions.



  • Erin McIntosh - Rapid response nurse at Riverside Community Hospital and local union steward of SEIU 121
  • Clifford R. Daniels - Senior Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer, Methodist Hospital of Southern California