State working to prevent nurse suicides and fill nursing shortages

State working to prevent nurse suicides and fill nursing shortages
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Currently, Kentucky is 12-20% short of its nursing staff needs.

Unfortunately, according to the Kentucky Nurses Association, a small part of that shortage is because of nurses dying by suicide.

“We’ve had 58 deaths by suicide since 2016 and in reality one death by suicide is one too many,” said Delanor Manson, the CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association.

Manson said at its peak, the pandemic was a major contributor with so many deaths surrounding nurses. Another factor is she said the workload was too exhausting. There wasn’t enough support staff. The state projects it will need 16,000 nurses by 2024.

“It certainly does play into the whole situation. If you’re missing 58, that’s 58 less than you can have,” Manson said.

Melissa Perry has been a nurse at Baptist Health for seven years.

“We already knew more than five years ago that we were headed into a pretty significant national nursing shortage. That was before the pandemic ever hit,” Perry said.

Dee Beckman, the chief nursing officer at Baptist Health, said her staffing numbers are okay, but she said nurses across healthcare systems are getting sick from COVID, which lessens support staff numbers.

The Kentucky Nurses Association has recently issued mandatory education of all 89,000 nurses in the state to take a class on how to prevent nurse suicide.

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