FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday signed a bill aimed at addressing Kentucky’s nursing shortage by boosting enrollment in nursing schools and luring out-of-state nurses into the state’s workforce.
The measure comes a few months after the governor late last year declared the state's nursing shortage to be an emergency. Kentucky has faced a shortage of nurses for years but the problem worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to be training more nurses,” Beshear said during the bill-signing ceremony. “We need to make sure that unnecessary bureaucracy is not getting in the way, while at the same time we ensure the quality standards that are so important.”
The measure aims to lift enrollment limits in nursing programs meeting student achievement standards and accelerate licensing for out-of-state nurses to work in Kentucky.
The governor has pointed to projections that Kentucky will need thousands of additional nurses by 2024 to help fill gaps caused by retirements and people leaving the profession.
Republican Sen. Robby Mills was a lead sponsor of the bill. He said in a statement Thursday that the measure takes a "big step forward in ensuring that our commonwealth’s health care systems have the nurses to meet our citizens health needs now and in the future.”
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