Ky. lawmakers filing bill they say would help state’s nursing shortage
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers have filed a bill they say will address the state’s severe nursing shortage. Senate President Robert Stivers said Kentucky is short at least 3,000 nurses.
Supporters say the bill could make it easier for nursing students to get into school and make changes with the board that certifies instruction.
Stivers said this bill is one of the most important ones they’ve filed this year.
“Various teaching institutions that we have are not able to upgrade or increase their numbers of admission,” Stivers said.
Stivers said sometimes the numbers are capped at 50 or 75 and potential students are turned away.
“The board of nursing, who is the entity of regulation, has set these limits. So with this legislation, Senator Mills and I in talking with our two doctors, that are involved in the Senate, is how we change that,” Stivers said.
The bill also will change who can serve in the state nursing board and the areas they represent. It sets up term limits to 12 years and sets up geographic requirements for members. It requires at least two board members from each of the state’s congressional districts. And it lessens restrictions on who can teach.
“If you have your bachelor’s degree in nursing and you are working toward your master’s degree, you will be able to teach all levels of nursing,” Senator Robbie Mills said.
Stivers said they did get input from the nursing board and health care organizations. Delanor Manson with the Kentucky Nurses Association said they were not contacted. They’re studying the bill, but she said more financial incentives are needed.
“Retention bonuses, for the nurses, which means we need to get some funding in the current budget and maybe get some retired nurses to come back and help with the shortage. That could be done pretty quickly,” Manson said.
Governor Andy Beshear has also said there needs to be student loan forgiveness and other revenue measures as part of the state budget.
The bill has not yet been heard or voted on in committee. That could come next week.
Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved.