Kentucky Aims To Address Nursing Shortage By Boosting School Enrollments And Forgiving Loans

Kentucky is taking important steps to ensure it adds 16,000 nurses by 2024.

Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order on Thursday that will take “immediate action which we believe will provide some relief” to the current nursing shortage in the state. These actions include a push to get students to enroll in state nursing programs. Schools must be able to report the number of vacant pupil places each month.

In addition, the state Board of Nursing will need to approve applications from nursing schools to increase capacity and resources. The openings will allow more campuses to open and, in turn, have more students and registered professionals available for care.

The ordinance is not the only measure taken by the state to increase the nursing workforce. Beshear’s upcoming state budget will allow proposals to launch programs allowing for some form of loan cancellation, as well as new scholarship funds for nurses who agree to stay in the state for a specific length of time.

Nurses working during the pandemic will also receive additional compensation designated out of $ 400 million in federal pandemic assistance. The budget will be presented to the Republican-dominated legislature in early 2022.

“It’s not about the process, it’s not about the party. It’s about the people who kept us alive, kept us safe, kept us healthy, fed us, kept us alive, kept us safe, kept us healthy, fed us. have kept our home safe with our lights and our heating during this pandemic, ”Beshear said at a press conference announcing the measures. “To say no to this program is to say no to them.

Governor Andy Beshear declared Kentucky’s chronic nursing shortage an emergency on December 9, 2021, as he took executive action to increase enrollment in nursing education programs. Above, Beshear talks about the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and the opening day of the special session of the Kentucky state legislature in Frankfurt on September 7, 2021.
AP Photo / Timothy D. Easley, file

The Nursing Emergency in Kentucky mirrors a national epidemic created by the pandemic. Health officials say the problem is twofold: Nurses are resigning or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with itinerant nursing agencies.

Such severe shortages threaten “not only the health of patients, but the entire health care delivery system,” Beshear said.

He added that Kentucky was operating 12% to 20% under “volume of nursing care needed.”

“In the midst of a pandemic, and in the midst of such a dire shortage, we need to do things a little differently, to make sure we get the results we need when we need them most,” , said the governor.

Schools unable to accommodate their full capacity of students due to understaffing will need to notify state officials, in an effort to help them hire more teachers, he said. In addition, an advisory committee will be formed to offer additional proposals to overcome nursing shortages.

This is the second day in a row that the governor has taken executive action to deal with a nagging state problem.

Beshear granted Kentucky social workers a 10 percent pay rise on Wednesday. The wage increase aims to end the widespread loss of frontline workers demoralized by low wages and overwork serving children and vulnerable adults.

The pay increase will take effect Dec. 16 for social workers and family support services staff, the governor said. This is the result of his action to reclassify their jobs to a higher grade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kentucky nurse
Kentucky is taking important steps to ensure it has more than 16,000 nurses by 2024. Above, nurses fill syringes with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during pop-up vaccination event at Lynn Family Stadium on April 26, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Photo by Jon Cherry / Getty Images

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