Los Angeles County hospitals received funding recently to help with a nursing shortage, and San Gabriel Valley hospitals are taking their own steps to maintain full staffing.The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed Dec.20 to pay $53.1million to renew contracts with agencies that provide nurses to the five county hospitals. The contracts will run from Jan.1 to Dec.31 with the option to extend the agreements through 2007.Two private hospitals in the San Gabriel Valley, which do not receive government funding, are using community outreach to attract nurses.“Everyone has experienced a demand for nurses,” said Georgina Garcia, nurse executive for Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center. Kaiser, a major hospital in the San Gabriel Valley, offers nurses competitive pay and benefits, helping it keep a full staff of nurses, she said.But at smaller hospitals, it is not the case. “They become dependent on this short-term nursing agency staffing,” she said.Lourdes Salandanan, the director of education programs at Citrus Valley Medical Center, said the problem needs to be addressed in a multifaceted way.In California hospitals, 14,000 more nurses are needed, according to the office of the governor.Fewer than 6,000 nurses graduate each year in California, but 9,500 are needed. Programs exist at Mt. San Antonio College and Azusa Pacific University. Citrus Valley and Kaiser have built education partnerships with nursing programs at local universities.But some county hospital nurses want more opportunities for growth within their nursing structure.“How can I bring a new nurse, how can I convince one of my relatives to come and work for our county when we have nothing to offer?” said Lupe Figueroa, who has worked as a county nurse for32 years.City News Service contributed to this story. [email protected](626)962-8811, Ext.2236 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!