Florida’s healthcare professional shortage is only getting worse. Could education be the answer?

by | Sep 21, 2022

 

  • Florida’s nursing shortage has gotten worse since the start of 2022. On the back of educational initiatives and program expansions, state leaders are hoping that investment into nursing education could help provide the healthcare industry with more professionals 
  • A conducted survey by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) found that there is a 25 percent turnover rate for Registered Nurses in the state
  • Furthermore, FHA projects a deficit of nearly 60,000 nurses by 2035 should no mitigation efforts go into effect 

Despite sustained efforts to mitigate the severity of Florida’s current acute nurse shortage, hospitals continue to encounter recruitment and retention issues. In an attempt to reduce long-term consequences, medical association officials and some Florida universities have initiated a number of medical education efforts to provide additional professionals to the state’s medical sector.

The Florida Hospital Association this year conducted a survey of its member institutions, finding an alarming Registered Nurse turnover rate of 25 percent. FHA projects a deficit of 59,100 nurses in Florida by 2035.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for nurses in Florida is expected to grow by 21 percent, while 40 percent of nurses will approach retirement age in the next decade.

Should the shortage continue to burgeon amid a booming state population, healthcare facilities in major urban centers around the state could be rendered inconsistent or inaccessible.

In response, industry leaders have turned to Florida’s nursing students as a potential solution. With a relatively steady annual influx of new students entering such degree paths, ongoing developments to facilitate and promote nursing education could be key in lessening the effects of a drastic shortage.

HCA Florida Healthcare earlier in the year announced that it is donating $1.5 million to Florida International University’s (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing Health Sciences (NWCNHS) in a partnership to expand its faculty and offer scholarships to increase enrollment and help address the national nursing shortage.

“HCA Florida Healthcare and FIU have a longstanding relationship and a shared commitment to serving South Florida,” said Chuck Hall, national group president of HCA Healthcare. “We are thrilled to announce this partnership with FIU to help address the nursing faculty shortage by supporting programs that help expand the number of registered nurses qualified to teach our country’s future nurses.”

Further, HCA and the University of North Florida in June partnered to develop a fully interdisciplinary simulation center aimed at delivering hands-on training to UNF Brooks College of Health nursing students and help meet a growing need for clinically trained healthcare and nursing professionals.

Meanwhile, Florida State University this fall expanded its nursing school capacity for the sole reason of expanding the nursing workforce.

In South Florida, where the shortage is proving to be most severe, the Health Foundation of South Florida is investing $1 million to fund expanded enrollment, scholarships, and other support services for nursing and health sciences students at Miami Dade College and Broward College.

“We understand there are no quick or simple solutions to our region’s shortage of nursing and healthcare workers. But we also believe the crisis presents an opportunity for us to help pave the way to good, steady, well-paying jobs for more people in our community,” said Loreen Chant, CEO of the Health Foundation of South Florida. “We care about this deeply because we know that improving the health and well-being of our region is impossible without making economic opportunity and mobility more accessible.”

The University of Florida’s College of Nursing will receive $3.6 million in state grants referred to as Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers, and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education funding for the 2023 fiscal year.

This recurring yearly funding, stylized as PIPELINE, will help the state meet the demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse scientists.

As university programs are expanded and subsidized, industry-leading providers have also joined the fray. AdventHealth, one of Florida’s largest providers, in August announced the launch of its three-year accelerated nursing pathway program.

The program is aimed at high school graduates, college transfer students, and mid-career professionals. This reorganized bachelor’s degree option is one of several programs in nursing education taking place at AdventHealth University to grow the nursing workforce and curb the nursing shortage.

“AdventHealth University is committed to making it easier to pursue a rewarding career as a nurse and providing as many easily-accessible entry points as possible to do so,” said Juli Daniels, dean of nursing at AdventHealth University. “Our faculty and team are working diligently to implement innovative ways to help stem the nursing shortfall as we inspire and support nurses and nursing students.”

A recent study shows that millennials are entering the nursing industry at nearly twice the rate of baby boomers. With hopes that the education programs can capitalize on this trend, The Florida Center of Nursing is optimistic about a workforce recovery in 2023, so long as such efforts are prolonged and continue to be developed.

2 Comments

  1. Joyce

    One guess would be because if the stranglehold Big Pharma, CDC, FDA & social media tech has stopped physicians to do their jobs and “cancelling” and censoring, threatening them.

    Reply
  2. Kishore

    THe headline is misleading as the article only addresses nursing shortages. The quality of medical care especially nursing care has also deteriorated over the decades largely due to the corporatization of health care where only the bottom line matters and compassion is non existent.

    Reply

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