SAN DIEGO — More than 500 nurses rallied to the California state capitol Tuesday, urging lawmakers to pass bills they say would help fund and save the nursing industry.

Some of those nurses include San Diegans who are urging lawmakers to pass three bills to address the nursing crisis. They are demanding help from lawmakers.

“We’re doing this for mostly for our patients. It’s also for us and safe patient ratios, but it’s really for the community and our patients so they can get the proper care they deserve,” said nurse Meagan Davison.

The three bills include staffing law enforcement to enforce nurse staffing ratios at hospitals, investing half a billion dollars in community college nursing programs and helping nursing students get clinical placements to graduate. 

“Right now, nurses are paying $150,000 a year for the program to become nurses. That to me is ridiculous. That dissuades nurses from going into the profession,” said ICU nurse Lorra Tibayan.

Many left the industry due to burnout from the pandemic and hospitals are still struggling to recover.

“I worked through the pandemic,” said Tibayan. “I know some people are tired of hearing it but putting multiple people in body bags, not having adequate staff, having new grads and not even experienced nurses helping along side us — it was stressful.”

This comes as the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a shortage of nearly 200,000 nurses nationwide by 2025. A shortage that is forcing many nurses to take on more patients than they can handle.

“Research has shown that each additional patient in a nurse’s workload, you’re chances of mortality on average go up by 7%,” said nurse Hayley Kellas. “That hurts. We don’t want anything bad to happen to our patients.”

Looking ahead, the next step for these three bills is for them to be heard before the Assembly Appropriations Committee and to be voted on by May 18. Then, it will go to the full assembly for a floor vote.