University researchers release data on critical state issues

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 6:48 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s academic think tank is sharing findings on issues impacting the state’s future. The long wait for treatment at remaining hospitals could be due in part to the state’s nursing shortage.

It’s just one of the issues university researchers studied to share with legislators and policymakers at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Auditorium. It all unfolded at the 8th annual Advancing Mississippi Conference.

“Mississippi is in critical need of nurses, and it’s causing a health care access barrier,” said MS College School of Nursing instructor Valerie Bailey.

Healthcare experts gathered data on the current state of nursing for the Annual Advancing Mississippi Conference. Bailey, a nurse, presented policy solutions to address the workforce shortage. Current research indicates the need for 3,000 nurses.

“We would really like for some policy to focus on our existing nurses that are at the bedside that are doing direct patient care and our seasoned nurse’s workforce,” said Bailey. “We would like to see some nursing mentors to help with the overworked nurses who may precept these new grads.”

According to Mississippi State University, requiring employers to provide retirement plans would save tens of millions annually. There are 915,000 private sector employees.

“We found that almost 54 percent of Mississippi private sector employees do not have an employer-sponsored retirement plan,” said Heather Gladney with MS State University Extension. “And then we also found that 36 percent of our Mississippi senior citizens are going to rely on social security for 90 percent of their income. That is only about $17,000.00 per year.”

MSU also discussed broadband adoption

“We need to focus more on making broadband accessible,” said MSU graduate assistant Sabina Regmi. ”As well as increase the adoption of people specifically the rural people with income less than $20,000.00. They have very low broadband adoption.”

Homeownership, education, and gender disparity were also examined. They are issues researchers hope legislators and policymakers address in the upcoming session.

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