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Kentucky: Nursing Workforce Update

Career News September 3, 2013

This report discusses the status and future of the Kentucky nursing workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for the nursing field across the nation is considered “excellent.” Also, according to the BLS, nursing job openings are expected to increase at a rate faster than average. The BLS predicts that the greatest increases will be for nurses with advanced degrees who work in outpatient institutions. This trend results from the increase in outpatient care demands, as well as the newest developments in healthcare technology.

Nursing trends in Kentucky mirror the trends seen in the rest of the nation. Across the United States, more than 100,000 nursing positions remain unfilled. As the current nursing workforce continues to grow older, even more job openings become available. Reasons for this shortage include:

Job Stress Issues: Since the job of a nurse is demanding and stressful, many states experience problems with recruitment and retention. Nurses must often work long hours and irregular shifts, and the job itself is challenging. Thus, many individuals are hesitant to enter the field, and those who do often leave the job when the stress becomes overwhelming.
Aging Population: The nation’s baby boomer population is aging, leading to a greater demand for qualified healthcare professionals.
Retirement: Nurses across the country are reaching retirement age, and the number of new nurses isn’t sufficient to fill the vacancies.
Shortage of Nursing Faculty: Institutions across the United States suffer from nursing faculty shortage, which limits the amount of new nurses entering the field.

However, unlike most other states, Kentucky doesn’t predict a shortage in the year 2020, nor does it have a shortage now.

Kentucky: Nursing Workforce and Future Needs at-a-glance

Licensed RNs in Kentucky: 75,198

Number of Licensed RNs working in 2011: 44,810

Employment per 100,000 Jobs: 25.859

Annual Mean Salary (2011): $60,040

Projected demand for nurses in 2020: 38,114 (Since Kentucky expects to employ 44,623 nurses in 2020, this estimate does not indicate a shortage of nurses in the foreseeable future).

Is Kentucky among the Top 10 for highest nurse pay? No.

Is Kentucky among the bottom 10 for nurses pay? No.

Does Kentucky have an articulation agreement? If so, what kind? No, Kentucky does not currently have a statewide or mandated articulation agreement, according the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing. If a student transfers from one institution to another, there is no guarantee that any of the student’s previously earned credits will transfer with him. All credit transfer agreements must be made between individual institutions.

Kentucky: Outlook for Nursing Jobs

The Kentucky branch of the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action is not faced with a nursing shortage at any time in the near future. However, the campaign is still attempting to improve the field of nursing in Kentucky by lifting some of the barriers that prevent nurses from pursuing more advanced degrees, such as financial constraints and time management issues. Kentucky is also working to improve statewide communication and collaboration, as well as access to leadership training for nursing professionals.

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