At the most basic level, this is a story about American economics and capitalists.
Nurses are a valuable commodity just as any other group of well-educated professionals are. Among other things, they seek to maximize their return (income) on their investment (time and money expended earning a nursing education and experience). When they consider where to work and whom to work for, they look at the value proposition consisting of the area and employers. The reality about Humboldt County is that it has an exceedingly poor value proposition for nurses. As it stands, Humboldt County's primary value proposition is (for the time being at least) growing marijuana. Timber and fishing were once major parts of the value proposition but play a minor role today and one that appeals to very few workers. Stated another way: For what the great majority of nursing professionals are looking for, Humboldt County provides very little. Thus, few choose to live in the area excepting being a traveler for a few months. The same applies to physicians (and other professionals), very few of whom desire to live and work in Humboldt County. If Humboldt County were such a great value proposition for professionals of all types, the best and brightest would live and work in the county. They dont.
The capitalist leadership of Providence St. Joseph Health and Mad River Hospital also fully understand how return on investment works. So long as Humboldt State University's Nursing program was turning out RNs, the two local hospitals had a convenient gravy train of new graduates ready to fill open positions. This was made possible the way that capitalists most prefer it: The state government and students paid the cost of the education. Realize this: If the return on investment calculations favored Providence and Mad River creating and operating their own local nursing school, they would do so without delay. The financial reality however, is that the return on investment calculations favor paying traveling nurses. This is possible because public payers (i.e., the state and federal governments) and private payers (e.g., Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California) reimburse Providence and Mad River enough to make traveling nurses less costly than locally educating nurses.
Change Humboldt County's value proposition, change reimbursement arrangements, change community priorities, etc. and different outcomes are possible. The current Humboldt County value proposition, reimbursement arrangements, and community priorities are yielding exactly the outcomes cited in the article.
Let's do talk about wages - it's a very valid concern. I don't have data to address the question about wage variation between local employers. However, on a national level, CA nurses are the highest paid in the nation (http://californiahealthline.org/news/californias-rn-wages-now-highest-in-the-nation-federal-data-show/).
Within CA, it's very true that nurses in rural areas make less money than those in urban areas. In fact, the nurses in the northern counties (including Humboldt) are some of the lower paid statewide, with average salary in 2014 of $84,461, annually. Nurses in rural southern CA counties do a bit better, with average salaries around $85 - 89K annually. Nurses in the San Francisco bay area (the top wages in the U.S.) are paid substantially more, at about $100K / year. (all data from the CA Board of Nursing:http://www.rn.ca.gov/pdfs/forms/survey2014.pdf) This is a difference of closer to $7 - $8 / hour, not $15. It may still be significant in nurses selecting options for employment.
Sadly, though, I think the local problems are more complex. Just my 2c, but I suspect most nurses who choose to live and work in Humboldt county are not interested in re-locating to SFO or Sacramento for better wages.
I applaud the local academic institutions and health care employers for their attention to this important matter.
Thanks Thad, for the balanced and informative reporting.
I have had a few cases over the last several years where I helped tenants who were served with eviction notices by Mr. Squires. Based on all I have seen and experienced, the properties should be under a full receivership. While Mr. Squires is intelligent and can be nice, he is unfit to manage real property. I believe he does many shady and illegal things to get rid of tenants that resist his unlawful practices. I had one case where he gave an eviction notice to an old woman for wanting her heater repaired in Winter! Could you ever imagine being that hard-hearted? For the sake of the City, the receiver must have full control.
I will never forget the profound loss felt by our entire community when Amber left us. I am so happy I knew her. She was a beautiful child of the 80's and the little girl inside worshipped her fashion and of course her hair. My heart is always with you ladies. Sending love
The gateway theory has been disproved to the point where it is now an accepted fallacy (http://europe.newsweek.com/marijuana-not-gateway-drug-325358?rm=eu), and even the NIDA website says so. It is illegality rather than the substance itself that puts people in touch with the black market. Also, CBD is not psychoactive, so I feel you are muddying the waters a little here.
The loss of my beautiful friend Amber was one of the most profound losses that I've ever experienced. It still hurts to my core, yet I know that my pain barely touches the pain felt by her parents and sisters. Amber remains in my daily thoughts, as do Francine, Alison, and Erika.
Yes I will join you in prayers! Love you and your family! Lori Boots
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"Cannabis was once a common ingredient in patent medicines, but for most of modern memory it has been a prohibited, stigmatized stoney gateway drug."
"Cannabis was once common, but for most of modern memory it has been stigmatized as a prohibited, stoney gateway drug."
This addresses the stigma without said stigma, and recognizes the fact of marijuana's ubiquity before such stigmatizing began. Limiting cannabis discussion to terms of drugs and medicines completely ignores the plant's lucrative presence in all of history and today. It's very common, but it's also a result of the stigma that is being addressed. "Drug" and "medicine" can be used synonymously with "cannabis" in applied contexts, but it's just false information to suggest the plant is primarily either.
Let's talk about wages! Compare the wages (& benefits) just between the 2 area hospitals. Let alone to the rest of California. How many RNs do we loose if they can make $15 more per hour w/ better benefits & less stress?
marijuana isnt addictive in any traditional sense of the term. this needs to be made clear and understood. consuming marijuana is a habit, it alters a perception not unlike being engaged in a fun activity, but there are no dependant withdrawal issues beyond the habit, and psychology thereof. caffiene is addictive, the withdrawl can be especially painful even after short use, as it literally affects blood flow. i experience crippling migranes coming off of caffiene, no more for me. sugar is ridiculously addictive, and harmful, in more ways than our commercially profitable society will ever address. alcohol is a demon of addiction, the withdrawls can literally be deadly. but marijuana is not addictive, and the term "gateway drug" has long been understood to be a scare tactic. the term "gateway drug" is ONLY used by people ignorant of the greater human condition enough to use the term in the first place. this is all common knowledge to the truely experienced. as a substance abuse counselor, the author of this article made a living addressing worst case scenarios (and probably lots of pointless court mandated cases). ive known many counselors. marijuana belongs to everybody, yet we've all been raised in an era of generations old prohibition and fear mongering. people who really have a grasp of the bigger picture gained from open experience are few and far between, whereas the regurgitated propaganda of yesteryear is still being barfed all over the place today.
I am so happy to see this! I loved seeing Condors flying free when I was a kid. Now you hardly see them. They are breathtaking. Way to go guys!
It is a shame that our public officials have done little to address the nursing shortage and for that matter an overall medical professional shortage in Humboldt County. It is only getting worse as more and more medical professionals are retiring or leaving the county. We need an innovative program to lure nurses and doctors and support personnel to our community. This is becoming, if not already, a public health crisis. The excuse that, "it's just as bad in other rural communities" is tiresome and a shirk of responsibility. Our public officials should prioritize public health and attend a seminar or two on the subject rather than sticking their heads in the sand.
Actually, fat is a large part of the problem; the fat found in seeds. The Government's dietary advice to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated oils caused the food supply to be altered. https://www.credit-suisse.com/us/en/articles/articles/news-and-expertise/2015/09/en/fat-the-new-health-paradigm.html
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Please do not use rat poison--it will endanger these owls! I have been to Ferndale and seen them--you are so lucky to have them offering free, non-toxic pest control!
Place was awful.
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In Print This Week:
Jan 19, 2017
vol XXVIII issue 3
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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