State grant aims to attract nurses in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (CAPITOL BUREAU) – A nursing shortage plagued Kansas for years.

In 2006, the Kansas Nursing Grant Initiative was developed, and it has been helping with a problem that many hospitals have been facing.

“We did not have enough nurses and we needed to get more, so the state was good enough to put together a grant, that then we partnered with and our institutions are a part of, that allows them to offer additional services and try to recruit more nurses,” said Scott Smathers, vice president of workforce development at the Kansas Board of Regents.

Hospitals are on board with the grant.

“The nursing schools definitely need the support of the state, and making sure they have the things they need to produce the right amount of nurses for our communities,” said Salena Gillam, administrative director of medical, surgical, and critical care at Stormont Vail Hospital.

The state Board of Regents will divvy up more than $1.7 million next year to 29 schools with nursing programs. That’s to state universities, community colleges, and even private schools.

“It has gotten better, we do have a whole lot more nurses, and we’re graduating a whole lot more out and everything,” said Smathers. 

But he said there is still work that needs to be done.

“The medical field is expanding as well a great deal and the need for nurses has expanded a great deal.”

Some of the money goes to pay for supplies because costs have increased over the years.

“The knowledge base of nurses is so wide, what they need to know to take care of patients is so much more than it ever was,” said Gillam.

The Board of Regents estimates because of the program, hundreds of new instructors have been hired and thousands of nurses have been able to graduate.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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