January 28, 2020

Nursing Workforce Report shows that over a third of Missouri’s RN’s are nearing retirement age

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri State Board of Nursing, in partnership with the University of Missouri Center for Health Policy, has released its second Nursing Workforce Report (2019). For the first time in Missouri, workforce data is available on over 94 percent of licensed nurses. 

While the shortage of licensed nurses is a well-established problem globally, the nursing workforce data shows that in Missouri, shortages exist in certain areas of the state. The rural counties are most affected, with most of the state’s nurses working in the metropolitan counties. Of potential concern for the future of Missouri’s RN workforce, over one-third (33.9 percent or 31,731) are age 55 and older, and may be retired or thinking about retiring in the near future. Over half of the nurse workforce in some counties, such as Dallas, DeKalb, Hickory, Holt and Stone, are over the age of 54, ranging from 51 percent in Dallas County to 64 percent in DeKalb County. 

The Board of Nursing has been working to address the shortage by supporting innovative teaching models. The Board has established a nursing education incentive program, approved apprenticeship models of nursing education, and approved nursing program expansions in an effort to boost both the number and quality of nurses entering the profession. In addition, they have placed a strong emphasis on collaboration with the military by working to incorporate and recognize education, training, and/or service received and completed into the qualifications to apply for licensure as a practical nurse. 

“This comprehensive workforce analysis tells us that the nursing shortage is different geographically, which necessitates multi-dimensional solutions. A one-size fits all approach is simply not effective.  The Missouri State Board of Nursing is committed to continuing to support innovation in nursing education, ” says Lori Scheidt, Executive Director of the Missouri State Board of Nursing.