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Two and a half years after the coronavirus pandemic highlighted the importance of high-quality healthcare professionals, Kentucky continues to face a widespread nursing shortage.

According to the 2022 Workforce Survey Report from the Kentucky Hospital Association, the state has a nursing shortage of 22%, with hospitals needing more than 5,000 additional nurses to be fully staffed.

Combating the nursing shortage will require efforts from multiple fronts. The most important part will be educating more nurses, which is where career colleges like MedQuest College that offer direct paths to healthcare careers will play an important role.

What’s causing the nursing shortage?

Although the pandemic undoubtedly played a role in worsening the nursing shortage, the field was facing problems long before.

At a time when aging baby boomers are in need of more medical care, nurses are also retiring in higher numbers. This decrease in available nurses coupled with the increase in medical demands has stressed an already burdened system.

The crunch of retiring nurses is being felt in Kentucky too. More than 14% of the nursing workforce is nearing retirement age, according to the Workforce Survey Report, meaning what is now a 22% shortage could worsen in the next few years.

How is MedQuest helping?

Since the pandemic began and the nursing shortage worsened, MedQuest has been working hard to meet the demand for high-quality healthcare professionals whether they be nurses or medical assistants. At a time when other institutions have been turning away nursing school applicants, we have worked to ensure our faculty are equipped to accept more students.

But accepting students isn’t enough. Those students also have to be trained.

At MedQuest, we pride ourselves on offering the most direct path to a great career in healthcare. Our practical nursing diploma program trains students to become licensed practical nurses (LPN) in just 12 months. Students who graduate have the skills necessary to take the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) and start working in hospitals, clinics and nursing facilities.

After being licensed, LPNs will play an essential role on the patient treatment team by providing care to sick or injured patients and supporting doctors and registered nurses. And often, they will be a critical link between doctors and patients, helping educate patients and their families on treatment plans.

It’s this connection with patients and their families that inspires many MedQuest students to pursue a career in nursing.

What does this mean for those who want to be nurses?

While the thought of taking the first step to become a nurse may seem daunting, now is a great time to finally take the leap. The employment of LPNs is expected to grow 6% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning students who start studying today during the nursing shortage will have no problem finding jobs when they graduate.

As the nursing shortage continues, it will be important to train the next generation of nurses. Student nurses will need to graduate with the skills necessary to immediately enter a workforce that desperately needs them. Thankfully, MedQuest’s career training program is designed to put students on a fast track to a career in healthcare and get them into medical facilities where they are needed.

If you have questions about MedQuest’s LPN diploma or want more information about our other programs, click to request more information or schedule a tour. You can also find information about financial aid options and MedQuest’s career services department.