State gives $3 million to Missouri colleges to combat nursing shortage

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:29 AM CDT
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MISSOURI (KCTV) - Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has announced nearly $3 million in grants are heading to 11 colleges and universities to help combat a nursing shortage.

Parson said this will enhance the nursing students’ education programs while developing solutions to alleviate staffing shortages. Schools awarded grants will develop career-ladder programs in high schools, expand earn-while-you-learn models, and improve their virtual and long-distance learning options.

“My administration has prioritized workforce development, especially for our high-demand fields such as nursing,” said Parson. “It is vitally important that we continue to invest in Missouri’s health care workforce. These grant funds will assist with expanding clinical partnerships and nursing resources to better provide students with a valuable education as well as increase enrollment capacity in the future.”

The Missouri Hospital Association found that registered nurse vacancies in Missouri have increased by 11 percent since 2021.

“We are proud of our Missouri nursing programs that proposed solutions which showcase their ability to lead in change and transform nursing education,” said Lori Scheidt, Executive Director of the Missouri State Board of Nursing. “I look forward to seeing these grant funds put into action to strengthen Missouri’s nursing pipeline.”

The Missouri Hospital Association’s Workforce Report shows not only nurse vacancies – but vacancies have grown 90 percent for all certified respiratory therapists as well. Their data shows turnover and vacancy rates reached an all-time high statewide. A 17 percent vacancy rate shows an 87 percent increase since 2020. Staff nurse turnover increased to 22.1 percent from the previous year’s rate of 18.1 percent.