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Beshear signs bill aimed at addressing nursing shortage

Beshear signs bill aimed at addressing nursing shortage
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:45 AM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Governor Andy Beshear signed a new law meant to address a nursing shortage.

Kentucky has been dealing with a nursing shortage since before the pandemic. This is something that can have a big effect on a hospital.

“Nursing is the heart of the hospital,” said Henderson Community College Nursing Director Sarah Crick.

With the spread of COVID-19, that problem has been getting worse.

“One of the things coming out of the pandemic that we’ve realized is that we are going to be woefully short of nurses,” said Kentucky State Sen. Robby Mills. “Kentucky is thinking we may be up to 14,000 nurses short by 2024.”

To get more nurses in the state, the Kentucky legislature created Senate Bill 10.

Part of the bills will make it easier for nurses to move to the state and start working. If a nurse is licensed in another state, they will be able to start working right away in Kentucky using a work permit, rather than having to wait until they’re fully licensed.

It will also simplify the process of licensing nurses from foreign countries.

Another part of the bill will give nursing schools more authority to determine their own class sizes.

“Removing that red tape is huge,” said Crick. “Just having this conversation is the first step to solving the problem, and one way to mitigate the nursing shortage is to produce more nurses.”

If a nursing school has 80% of its students pass the national exam for three straight years, it will be allowed to set its own class sizes, rather than have to follow the maximum size the state has set.

Lastly, the bill is updating the state nursing board by making sure there are members from every part of the state, and adding more members who are working nurses.

State legislators say it’s important to take care of those that take care of us.

“You forget about people that care for you until you need care,” said Mills.

The governor signed the bill Thursday, and it will go into effect in late June.

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