WICHITA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) – Almost 25% of Kansas nursing jobs are unfilled — the highest rate in the past decade. Efforts are underway to ease the shortage. Government, healthcare employers and state universities are gathering at a series of meetings this year to create a plan to combat that crisis. Even businesses that don’t operate in health care are encouraged to join the conversation.
KU School of Nursing Dean Sally Maliski says employees and their families are all touched by health care – and nursing is the largest part of that workforce. “We know that healthy people are more productive. We know that communities in which health care is available, do better economically,” she said. Maliski hopes engaging with middle and high school students can get more people into nursing careers.
The University of Kansas School of Nursing projects the state’s nursing shortage will persist in the coming years, adding up to more than 53,000 openings by 2026. Kansas is one of about a dozen states without a nursing workforce center. Maliski says a workforce center would help target areas where nurses are needed most and ease the shortage. “These centers support programs that develop pathways to bring students from various areas into nursing,” she said. Maliski says the goal is to have KU open such a center by this fall.