22% of nursing positions in Kentucky hospitals are unfilled, hospital association says

Over 22 percent of nursing positions in Kentucky hospitals are unfilled, according to a Sept. 29 report from the Kentucky Hospital Association.

In addition to a high vacancy rate, hospitals are experiencing a high turnover rate for registered nurses, which is also at 22 percent statewide. Additionally, another 14.2 percent of registered nurses in Kentucky are nearing retirement age, according to the report. 

Data comes from the annual Kentucky Hospital Association workforce survey, which gathers workforce data from hospitals across the state. The number accounts for more than 5,000 registered nurses and licensed nurse practitioners needed in Kentucky. 

Kentucky Hospital Association Board Chair Mike Sherrod said the association has seen this scenario play out in other states. 

"Hospitals across the country are reducing their services, and some are even closing their doors due to labor shortages and skyrocketing costs. We need to prevent this from happening in Kentucky. Our citizens deserve to have access to the high quality care they've come to expect from our state's hospital," Mr. Sherrod said. 

Some hospitals are providing incentives to recruit new professionals and retain the ones currently employed, and Kentucky Hospital Association President Nancy Galvagni said the organization and member hospitals are committed to retaining and attracting professionals to a career in healthcare. 

"We are working with the state's colleges, universities and high schools to expand programs and educate more professionals. We look forward to working with our elected officials to address this crisis head on and ensure every citizen in the commonwealth retains access to the high-quality care our hospitals provide," Ms. Galvagni said.

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