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New Report: Missouri’s Rural Areas Still Far Behind Urban In Number Of Nurses

Ozarks Community Hospital


A new report on Missouri’s nursing workforce in 2020 shows rural areas still lag considerably behind urban areas in how many nurses are available.

The report, put together by the University of Missouri and the state’s nursing board, found that while metropolitan areas have an average of 156 nurses per 10,000 residents, in rural areas that number drops to about half that--just 77 nurses per 10,000 residents.

And the number of advanced practice registered nurses, or nurses with more specialized degrees, is significantly lower in Missouri, at just 5 nurses per 10,000 residents in rural areas, compared to 14 in metropolitan areas.

Missouri’s Department of Commerce and Insurance said it’s not enough for the state to simply approve more educational programs. It’s calling for innovation in how nurses are educated.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.