- BayCare, the largest hospital system in Southwest Florida, is set to receive $1 million in funding as part of a federal package to help train more nurses.
- The funding will allow BayCare to train 30 additional practical nurses, 120 additional PCTs, and 12 additional RN first-year students in response to the projected shortage of over 59,000 nurses in Florida by 2035.
- The funding comes as a portion of the Community Project Funding (CPF) initiated by former Florida Congressman Charlie Crist, who secured $963,260 through the CPF process for workforce training for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.
As part of a federal package, BayCare, the largest hospital system in Southwest Florida, is set to receive $1 million in funding to help train more nurses. According to a 2021 report from the Florida Hospital Association, the state is projected to face a shortage of over 59,000 nurses by 2035.
The funding will enable BayCare to train 30 additional practical nurses, 120 additional PCTs, and 12 additional RN first-year students. The programs are designed to train and support nurses and other healthcare workers in delivering safe and high-quality care.
By expanding the training and pipeline programs, BayCare stated an intent to strengthen academic-practice partnerships between the hospital network and Pinellas Technical College (PTC), Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), and St. Petersburg College (SPC).
“As we continue to serve individuals and communities in the Tampa Bay area, creating a pipeline for a skilled healthcare workforce is critical,” said Jackie Munro, vice president of nursing systems & resources for BayCare.
The funding comes as a portion of the Community Project Funding (CPF) initiated by former Florida Congressman Charlie Crist, who secured $963,260 through the CPF process for the workforce training for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, according to federal documents.
The bolstering of funding comes as Florida’s nursing workforce environment causes reason for concern. In addition to a prolonged shortage of available professionals, the most recent exam passage rate for nursing licensure in Florida was among the lowest in the country.
In 2021, just 64.7 percent of first-time test-takers passed the NCLEX for Registered Nurses (RN), 17.6 percent lower than the national rate and a decrease of nearly four percentage points from 2020.
The Practical Nursing (PN) exam scores saw even lower numbers with 62.5 percent of Floridians passing. Like the RN exam, this year’s scores saw a decrease compared to 2020 by 4.5 percentage points. The state PN scores also lagged behind national numbers by 17.1 points.
Of Floridians seeking an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), only 58.7 percent received a passing score. The data reflects a full 20-point decrease compared to the national pass rate and shows a five-point decrease compared to 2020’s numbers.
“The 2020 and 2021 statewide pass rates for both NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN candidates in Florida are much below the national average,” read the report.” In 2021, Florida’s pass rate on the NCLEX-RN for first-time candidates was 64.7 percent and Florida’s pass rate on the NCLEX-PN for first-time candidates was 62.5 percent. Both state and national pass rates have decreased from 2020 to 2021.”
The number of candidates passing the NCLEX is typically used as an indicator of the number of new nurses entering the nursing workforce, with the NCLEX first attempt pass rate often used as a measure of prelicensure nursing program effectiveness.