UPDATED: Measure to address nursing shortage passes Senate

Seeking to address Kentucky’s continued shortage of registered nurses, the Senate passed Senate Bill 10 on Tuesday, which would eliminate barriers for out-of-state nurses to practice in Kentucky, among other provisions.

Sponsored by Senator Robby Mills (R-Henderson), Senate Bill 10 would also prevent Kentucky nursing schools or nursing programs from limiting student enrollment if the school or program has at least an 80 percent average pass rate for the NCLEX, the final board exam requirement prior to becoming a registered nurse.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), the primary cosponsor of Senate Bill 10, told committee members last week the bill was a product of much collaboration among many interested parties over the interim session. 

“There has been a nursing shortage in Kentucky long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has certainly added to the problem over the past two years,” Stivers said. “We’ve worked with various schools and institutions, as well as the Kentucky Hospital Association, the Kentucky Board of Nursing, and long-term care providers. We also looked at things the governor did in an executive order over the summer, and we think this bill will create a better process to get more nurses back in the system.”

“The main purpose of this bill is to allow immediate entry into the workforce, so that qualified nurses can come to Kentucky and not get tied up in the bureaucratic process,” Senator Mills added.

Senate Bill 10 now moves to the House for consideration.

Stay tuned to the Bottom Line for more updates.

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