"California, and especially Southern California, is still a strong market, but student nurses may have to reset their expectations," said Sean Brady, product manager of Health Workforce Solutions LLC, which conducts the labor market report.

With more cash-strapped patients opting to delay elective surgery and other procedures, hospitals aren't having to move as quickly to fill openings when veteran nurses retire or relocate. In addition, many older nurses are opting to stay on the job longer, at least work part time rather than retire, in order to supplement their families' income.

"There's going to be increased competition for jobs that typically would have gone to new nurses," said Brady, whose San Francisco-based research company helps health care organizations anticipate and meet work force needs. "We're hearing from chief nursing officers that retention among current nurses is way up, and some traditionally part-time nurses are requesting to go full time because spouses have lost their jobs."

Personalized Medicine

Response Genetics Inc., an L.A. developer of specialized diagnostic test kits, said last week that it signed a nonexclusive licensing deal with Roche Diagnostics.

The deal gives Roche use of Response Genetics' patented process to detect a type of gene in people who are more likely to develop certain cancers. The genetic indicator, known as human epidermal growth factor type 2, can help physicians recommend potentially more effective treatments for patients with breast and other tissue cancers.

"We are extremely pleased to be working with Roche to help make personalized medicine a reality for cancer patients," said Response Genetics Chief Executive Kathleen Danenberg in a statement. "This agreement strengthens our long relationship with Roche."

Staff reporter Deborah Crowe can be reached dcrowe@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.