Gulf Coast State College announced the launch of the Simply Health Scholars Program last week that will fully support the tuition and associated costs for 10 nursing students living in the Florida Panhandle. The scholarship program was funded by over $100,000 from Simply Healthcare Plans (Simply). The ten scholarship recipients are pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) and reside in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Franklin or Washington counties.
The program launches at a time when Florida and other states are facing a critical shortage of trained nurses and healthcare professionals. According to a report by the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, the state faces a shortfall of 59,100 nurses by 2035. The Nurse Workforce Projection Report specifically found that the nursing shortage will be even more acute in specific counties located in the Florida Panhandle.
“It is an honor for Simply Healthcare to select Gulf Coast State College as the first college in Florida to initiate the Simply Health Scholars Program,” said Dr. John Holdnak, President of Gulf Coast State College. “Our partnership with Simply will not only benefit our students while they pursue their degree, but also our community as our graduates serve the Panhandle post-graduation.”
To help maintain a robust network of highly skilled health care providers in some of Florida’s most vulnerable communities, GCSC and Simply have teamed up to invest in the next generation of health care professionals who will commit to post-graduate work in the Florida Panhandle.
“We are proud to support Gulf Coast State College and their exceptional nursing students in their pursuit to become health care leaders within their communities,” said Holly Prince, President of Simply Healthcare. “At Simply, we continually seek opportunities and collaborations to help increase the health care workforce, especially in locations of greatest need. Our collaboration with Gulf Coast State College is emblematic of our mission to improve lives and communities in every area of the state and ensure institutions on the front lines of health care education and training are well supported.”
The Simply Health Scholars Program is part of more than $1 million in financial support provided by Simply since 2021 to address various community needs across Florida.
“The partnership between Simply and Gulf Coast State College to increase the nursing workforce accomplishes two great things for the Panhandle,” said Rep. Jason Shoaf, House District 7. “First, it helps ensures that our communities have access to quality care to keep them healthy. And second, it equips our neighbors in local communities with the skills needed to enter and strengthen our workforce.”