Medical Technology

Kentucky Governor declares an emergency in response to the nurses shortage that has become a major issue

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s governor declared the state’s chronic nursing shortage to be an emergency on Thursday, and took executive actions in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to boost enrollment in nurse-training courses.

Kentucky will need more than 16,000 nurses by 2024 to fill the gaps created by retirements and people leaving the field Governor. Andy Beshear stated. The Democratic governor stated that his executive order contains “immediate actions believed to give some relief.” “Obviously there are many things to do long-term.”

The crisis in nurse staffing in Kentucky is a sign of a national crisis caused by the pandemic. Health leaders say the problem is twofold: Nurses are either quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the outbreak. Many are also going to work in lucrative temporary positions with travel-nurse agencies.

In a news conference, Beshear stated that severe shortages pose a threat to “not only the health of patients but as well the entire health care delivery network.”

He said that Kentucky is operating between 12 and 20% below the “needed nursing volume”.

“In the middle of a pandemic and in the face of a crisis that is this serious, we’ve to think a different, in order to make sure that we get the results we require at the time that we need them most,” the governor said.

His executive order aims to attract more students to Kentucky nursing programs.

He stated that the state Board of Nursing must approve enrollment increases from schools with sufficient resources to accommodate more students.

The governor said that nursing schools would have to be able to report to the state nursing board the number of student slots that are vacant each month. These positions will be made public on the board’s website so that prospective students can determine whether there are any slots open.

The order aims to allow nursing schools to establish new campuses more quickly as long as they have the resources, he said. Nursing schools with full capacity will be required to refer qualified student applicants to other schools that have vacancies, he said.

And schools unable to accommodate their full capacity of students due to staffing shortages will have to inform state officials with the goal of helping them to hire more faculty, he added. A committee advisory group will be set up to offer additional suggestions to address the nursing shortage.

The governor also signaled that his upcoming state budget package will include suggestions to attract and keep nurses. Beshear said that his plan will include some kind of loan forgiveness or scholarship program for nurses who are willing to leave Kentucky for a certain amount of time. The governor will present his budget plan to the legislative body that is Republican-dominated in the early 2022.

In his proposal to offer essential-worker bonuses, he will also include nurses who were present during the pandemic. Beshear stated that he would like to use $400 million in federal pandemic aid to award the extra compensation to a variety of frontline workers working throughout the pandemic.

Beshear made another pitch for the bonuses in hopes of gaining the support of GOP lawmakers.

He said, “This isn’t about process and it’s not about a party.” “This is about the people who have kept us safe and alive, kept our health and food on the table and kept us warm during this pandemic. Saying no to this program is saying no to them.”

This is the second consecutive day the governor has taken executive actions to address a long-standing state-wide issue.

On Wednesday, Beshear announced an increase of 10% to Kentucky’s social service workers. The increase in pay is designed to stop the widespread loss of frontline workers unhappy with their pay and a soaring workload who serve vulnerable children and adults.

According to the governor, the increase in pay will begin on Dec. 16 for family support service staff and social workers. It’s the result of his action to change their jobs to higher grades.

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