Governor Beshear declares Kentucky’s nursing shortage an emergency

As Kentucky faces a critical shortage of health care professionals, Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday declaring the shortage an emergency.

The new executive order will allow nurses licensed in other states to continue to come work in the Commonwealth during the emergency and will also allow Kentucky nursing schools to enroll more students, hire more faculty, and let existing nursing schools open more campuses quickly.

Beshear stated Kentucky is currently operating at 12%-20% short of needed nursing staff, and the state is projected to need more than 16,000 additional nurses by 2024.

“This threatens not only the health of patients, but the entire health care delivery system,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve got to do things a little bit differently to make sure we get the results we need at the time that we need them the most.”

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The Kentucky Chamber and other organizations are involved in a working group to tackle this issue. LaKisha Miller, executive director of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Center, noted it is critical Kentucky address the shortage.

“Nurses continue to be a critical component of Kentucky’s healthcare industry.  The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is committed to working with the business community, state partners, and local organizations to address this workforce crisis and remove existing barriers to strengthen the nursing pipeline in Kentucky,” Miller said.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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