Ky. lawmakers forward bill to deal with state’s nurse shortage
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s no secret that Kentucky has dealt with a nursing shortage for years, a problem that was exacerbated by the pandemic.
Lawmakers hope Senate Bill 10 will make it easier for people to become nurses and remain nurses in the state.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says estimates show Kentucky has thousands of open jobs for nurses.
“This is not just related to hospitals. It’s related to long-term health care facilities, anybody else who relies on nursing,” Sen. Stivers said.
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Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, who’s sponsoring SB 10, says the legislation would improve the process for foreign and out-of-state nurses to practice in Kentucky. It would also improve access to nursing education by removing enrollment limitations at nursing schools. Finally, the legislation updates to the Board of Nursing’s membership to include term limits and geographic requirements.
Members of the Kentucky Nursing Association said SB 10 doesn’t go far enough. They proposed paying nursing faculty more money and providing retention bonuses to nurses that remain in Kentucky.
“We need to appreciate those nurses. They are not getting their appreciation in the facilities where they’re working,” said Delanor Manson, CEO of Kentucky Nursing Association. “Patients and family members are treating them with incredible disrespect and, somehow, we have to help them understand they are being appreciated.”
Members of the Kentucky Hospital Association said hospitals are struggling to pay the high fees for travel nurses. They asked lawmakers to look into reports of price gouging by some travel nurse agencies.
SB 10 passed unanimously out of committee in a 10 to 0 vote.
The bill moves to the Senate floor for its first reading.
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