Missouri spending $4 million to stave off nursing shortages

(The Center Square) – Missouri will spend more than $4 million to improve nursing education programs and alleviate staffing shortages.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center recently reported a drastic increase in the number of openings for registered nurses. There were 5,030 online job postings in July for registered nurses, compared to 3,080 in July 2021. General medical and surgical hospitals led all other industries with 5,730 openings job openings in July, compared to 4,090 last month. The center also projected a 1.8% increase in job openings during the next year due to industry growth and replacing workers due to exits from the workforce or transfers to other occupations.

One in five registered nurse positions in Missouri is unfilled – a 98% increase from two years ago – according to research by the Missouri Hospital Association.

Grants totaling approximately $3 million will be allocated to 11 public and private colleges and universities in Missouri. The funding was part of a special appropriation to the Missouri State Board of Nursing. The institutions winning the competitive grants and the amount of funding were:

$298,016 to Avila University in Kansas City;$296,000 to Bolivar Technical College;$269,793 to Cox College in Springfield;$300,000 to Goldfarb School of Nursing in St. Louis;$275,900 to Jefferson College in Hillsboro;$230,044 to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph;$300,000 to South Central Career Center in West Plains;$298,137 to St. Louis University;$300,000 to the University of Missouri – Kansas City;$300,000 to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg;$129,800 to William Jewell College in Liberty.

“My administration has prioritized workforce development, especially for our high demand fields such as nursing,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement. “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 State Board of Nursing awarded an additional $1 million through its Nursing Education Incentive Program earlier this year. Since its inception in 2011, the program has awarded $8 million in grants to increase the physical and educational capacity of professional nursing programs throughout the state.

“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.”

Research published by the state board in 2021 stated there are 70,071 registered nurses (RNs) in Missouri and 14,569 licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The research found that 8.8% of RNs and LPNs are at or beyond retirement age (over 65). Half of RNs are under age 45.

Long-term occupational projections by the state through 2030 predict an 8.7% growth in health care practitioners and technical occupations and 11.6% growth in health care support occupations.

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