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Kentucky Healthcare Changes Cause Nurses to Get a Degree

In the past, you didn’t need a college education to become a registered nurse at a medical clinic or hospital. While many nurses are choosing to pursue a college degree in nursing, it still isn’t mandatory. However, it might become necessary in Kentucky.

Week 3 Topic 4 Image 1 Kentucky Healthcare Changes Cause Nurses to Get a Degree

Health care has been changing a lot recently in the Bluegrass State. As a result, nurses have been dumbfounded and had to pursue additional learning just to keep up. Between Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the roll out electronic health records, a lot of new concepts have been introduced to health care workers. With new ideas consistently coming in, it has been harder for nurses to properly care for their patients and understand the new system. Yet a college degree may help make things a little easier for soon-to-be registered nurses in Kentucky.

The push for education
These new developments caused the Institute of Medicine to create a report in 2010 arguing that all registered nurses should hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The report noted that with a proper collegiate education, nurses would be able to understand these nuances better and handle a variety of patients with differing conditions and needs. They stated that they could apply their technical skills along with their knowledge of biology and medicine better in a constantly changing world. Lastly, the report argued that a nurse’s education is directly correlated to the outcome of his or her patients. If the nurse is college educated, he or she will experience successful outcomes with patients most of the time. However, if a nurse doesn’t possess this degree, he or she may have difficulty keeping patients happy and may deal with worse patient outcomes. The report asked that by 2020, 80 percent of all nurses hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In 2014, 55 percent of registered nurses in the U.S. held a bachelor’s degree in nursing, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Naturally, holding a degree can help nurses find a job upon graduation. The source noted that 59 percent of graduates had a job lined up after they walked across the stage to get their degree. However, Kentucky seems to be a little behind the ball. The University of Kentucky College of Nursing recently conducted a survey to learn more about the education levels of nurses. The results revealed that only 40 percent of nurses in Kentucky had a bachelor’s degree in nursing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 43,740 nurses in Kentucky currently, so somewhere around 20,000 have their degree. The state believes that in order to protect the health care system and the safety of patients, nurses should be educated as well as certified.

Improving shortages
Hopefully, Kentucky’s push toward education won’t discourage people from pursuing nursing. According to Kentucky’s government website, they already have a shortage of nurses and are only looking to increase those numbers. While states like Kentucky worry about shortages, other states such as Massachusetts aren’t as concerned. Comparatively, the Bay State has 122,452 registered nurses working in medical clinics and hospitals. Aside from registered nurses, Massachusetts also has more than 10,000 nurses who specialize in certain areas of advanced medicine, which usually leads to additional schooling.

Week 3 Topic 4 Image 2 Kentucky Healthcare Changes Cause Nurses to Get a Degree

Since the push for educated nurses is already in full swing, it may be wise for people interested in nursing to enroll in school off the bat so they don’t have to return to a nursing program after years of working in a hospital or clinic. Sadly, many nurses in Kentucky and other states throughout the U.S. will have to return to school to fit these demands.


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