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State nursing board approves major program expansions to address statewide workforce shortage


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The board that governs and regulates the profession of licensed nurses in Missouri is attempting to address by the statewide shortage through program expansion.

At the February 27, 2019, the Missouri State Board of Nursing approved the expansion of five nursing schools in the state.

In the press release, the board noted that Missouri nursing schools show tremendous capability and capacity to educate registered nurses who are well prepared to provide quality care to Missourians. The eight-member board indicated they plant on working closely with schools to expand seat capacity while maintaining instructional quality and program integrity.

The move was made as a step in addressing the statewide workforce shortage for nurses. Missouri hospitals are facing growing challenges as they seek to fill openings for nursing positions.

The Missouri Hospital Association’s 2018 Workforce Report shows a current vacancy rate of 13.3 percent, or 4,985 positions, for registered nursing positions in the state’s hospitals. Southwest Missouri is especially impacted by nursing shortages; market analyses shows roughly 500 annual openings for registered nurses in the Ozark Region.

“We need to address the shortage of qualified nurses in Missouri, and the first step is to add more capacity to the programs providing nursing education,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “No matter where you live in our state, we want you to have access to skilled health care professionals. These expansions are a great start as we address these serious workforce issues.”

The following nursing programs have received the Board’s approval for expansion over the next four years:

  • Cox College of Nursing– adding up to 150 seats to ASN and BSN programs in Springfield, Missouri, with new program sites in Monett and Branson.
  • Missouri State University– adding up to 24 seats to the BSN program in Springfield, Missouri.
  • State Fair Community College– adding up to 25 seats to the ADN program at a new location in Clinton, Missouri.
  • St. Louis Community College– adding up to 24 seats to the ADN program at a new location in Wildwood, Missouri, as well as adding 36 seats at the program site at Florissant Valley.
  • University of Missouri – Columbia– adding up to 29 seats to the BSN program in Columbia, Missouri.

For some schools, the approved expansion is an important step in obtaining funding through MoExcels, a program for Missouri Higher Education Institutions to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to increase career readiness.