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KY Senate unanimously approves bill to boost nursing numbers

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The Kentucky Senate has unanimously approved a bill the sponsor says has been worked on all session. The aim is to help solve the nursing shortage.

Henderson GOP Senator Robby Mills told his colleagues it sets out to improve the process for out of state and foreign-born nurses to practice in Kentucky. Mills said it provides for a temporary work permit process.

“The idea of these changes are to allow qualified nurses to get to work quickly in the state of Kentucky and to remove any red tape that could be slowing down the license approval,” said Mills.

The legislation also removes nursing school enrollment limitations if the program has at least an 80% rate of successful exam completion for the previous three years. Mills said Kentucky’s Nurses Association predicts an additional 16,000 nurses will be needed by 2024.

Mills noted some health care facilities were forced to hire contract nurses just to keep their doors open. The west Kentucky lawmaker added they received input from the State Nursing Board, hospitals, long term care providers, and nursing schools.

Louisville Democratic Senator Denise Harper Angel applauded the work on the bill, saying it goes a long way to address the issue.

“But, I do hope that our very fabulous chairman of Appropriations and Revenue, while he works his magic on the budget, will find a way to incentivize our nurses so that we can keep them in Kentucky,” said Harper Angel.

The bill heads to the House.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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