Kentucky Senate Bill Moves Forward to Address State’s Nursing Shortage

The measure would lift enrollment limits in nursing programs and expedite the licensing of out-of-state nurses to work in Kentucky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Kentucky Senate committee on Wednesday introduced a bill aimed at overcoming the chronic shortage of nurses that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure would lift enrollment limits in nursing programs and expedite the licensing of out-of-state nurses to work in Kentucky. Senate Bill 10 authorized the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, moving to the full Senate.

Senate President Robert Stivers is co-sponsoring the bill with Senator Robby Mills.

In December, Governor Andy Beshear declared the state’s nursing shortage an emergency.

The governor pointed to projections that Kentucky will need more than 16,000 additional nurses by 2024, to help fill the gaps caused by retirements and people leaving the profession.

Under the bill, enrollment limits would be lifted for nursing programs with an average rate of at least 80% of students passing the licensing exam in the previous three years.

“Instead of having some type of artificial or arbitrary number that this institution or institution should have so many people to admit, we felt we should get rid of everything and let the market take its course,” said Stivers to the committee.

The bill would speed up the process for nurses from other states or countries to be licensed in Kentucky “without compromising the standard of care,” Mills said.

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Norman D. Briggs