From the 1980s to the 2000s, the number of young people going into nursing schools plummeted -- both nationally and in California. To reverse the trend, the government launched recruitment efforts to get more people into nursing schools. It looks like they did a pretty good job. The number of registered nurses nationwide skyrocketed in the past decade, according to a study released in today's Health Affairs. Recent grads aged 23-26 increased by 62 percent. There hasn't been a spike in nursing grads like this in the U.S. since the 1970s.