Top Kentucky Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
The nursing shortage in Kentucky is not as severe as it is in other parts of the country. However, unless the state addresses certain future trends, the shortage will become real. A number of factors are particularly prominent in Kentucky, and these must be addressed.
First of all, fewer people are enrolling in four-year nursing degree programs, and still some 673 students had to be refused enrollment because of the lack of nurse educators. The demand for nurses, however, is on the rise, particularly since a large percentage of the existing workforce is approaching retirement age. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if Kentucky does not address its needs now, they will face a nursing shortage of about 19% by 2020.
Luckily, Kentucky is putting significant measures in place to address these future needs. Aggressive recruitment efforts are in place and it is believed that some healthcare settings will be able to increase their workforce by as much as 45%. Many hospitals and other community care settings have doubled their recruitment budget to make this possible. It seems that employers understand that nurses truly are the backbone of the healthcare system and that their education and training are incredibly important.
Another important effort currently taking place in Kentucky is that new and potential graduates can tour hospitals and speak with existing nursing and nursing managers. Additionally, there are interesting recruitment incentives, such as bonuses and vacation packages. Finally, the state understands the importance of high quality education, which is why more scholarships are being made available for those who want to achieve a bachelor’s or even master’s degree.
There are a number of significant hard-to-fill areas in the state as well. Some 80.87% of people in the state live in areas that are medically underserved. In addition, only 8.3% of the current nursing workforce is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. This demonstrates the demand for high quality education in the nursing workforce.
The salaries for registered nurses in Kentucky vary greatly. The healthcare organization they work for is an important factor, as is their geographical location and the level of education they have obtained. Generally speaking, those with the highest levels of education and those who work in hospitals earn the most. On the other hand, there is a particularly high demand for nurses to work in the more rural areas. These tend to earn less, but the job satisfaction has the potential to be much higher.