Flickr/U.S. Navy

The relentless COVID-19 pandemic has intensified America's nursing shortage. Now, Kentucky nurses who work in schools, long-term care facilities, hospices, and hospitals are being lured away. 

Hospitals and other states are offering up to four times Kentucky's hourly wage for nurses. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with the CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association, Delanor Manson, about burnout from dealing with dying COVID patients, verbal attacks for asking people to wear a mask or get vaccinated, and possible solutions to the nursing shortage in the Bluegrass State. 

Manson: States like California, Texas and New York have an exponential nursing shortage. And they have retained travel nurse agencies to go out and find nurses to come to their states. Because Kentucky does not have the exponential nursing shortage that a lot of other states have, we are prime candidates for these travel nurse agencies. So, they are coming to Kentucky to poach our nurses to send them to other states. And they're poaching our nurses with high dollars for hourly pay, as well as large bonuses. 

Rhonda J. Miller

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, we're highlighting a mother and daughter who have a close relationship that's both personal and professional.

Amber Givens, 38, and her mom, Julie Horton, 57, work together in the mother-baby unit at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with them on a park bench near the hospital entrance on their way to begin their regular 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. overnight shift. 

Givens lives in Central City and went into nursing four years ago as her second career. Horton lives in Lewisburg and has been a nurse for more than 30 years. 

Corinne Boyer

In April, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Greenup County, Kentucky, joined a long list of hospitals that have closed in the Ohio Valley. Fewer hospitals can mean longer travel times for rural residents, which can make a single hospital trip daunting.

Greenup County resident Tiffany Wilburn-Meek says that means a 45-minute drive for some residents to reach the closest hospital. 

“Like the road to my grandmother's house, you are going to have to go a certain speed because it is just too skinny and too narrow,” Wilburn-Meek said. “And especially if it's dark or anything you have to be careful because if you were to go too fast and you ran into somebody, you wouldn't be able to stop in time.”


Owensboro Medical Health System plans to raze part of its existing facilities as it prepares to open a new hospital next year. OMHS will continue to use four of its existing buildings, including the Mitchell Cancer Center, the Breckenridge medical office building, the emergency department building, and a parking garage.

Gordon Wilkerson, OMHS

A medical team in Owensboro is preparing to use a robotic surgical unit to perform a single-incision gall bladder removal. Friday's procedure at Owensboro Medical Health System will use a device known as the da Vinci Surgical System, which has been in use there since 2009.