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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

College of Nursing to use 4 million dollars in state funding to address Florida nursing shortage

The College of Nursing will use the money to invest in leadership training for faculty, double the slots in the accelerated nursing BSN and more.
Pictured+is+the+Libby+and+Harry+Dodson+Auditorium%2C+which+is+housed+in+the+Christine+E.+Lynn+College+of+Nursing.
Erika Fletcher
Pictured is the Libby and Harry Dodson Auditorium, which is housed in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

Representatives from the College of Nursing plan to use millions of dollars from the state to address a longstanding shortage of Florida nurses that was pronounced even before the pandemic. 

Last fall, the Board of Governors — a 17-member group that makes big-picture decisions from the state’s public university system — approved a request from the university seeking money to increase enrollment in its nursing program.

The request provides funding for the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing to double the slots available in the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (from 40 places to 80), for nursing faculty leadership training, and more.

Leaders at the Tallahassee-based Florida Hospital Association (FHA) project a shortage of 59,100 nurses in Florida by 2035.

“When they think of the nursing shortage, they think of the shortage of nurses at the bedside. But remember, we can never address the nursing shortage nationwide or in Florida if we don’t have number one, enough faculty, enough qualified faculty, and if we don’t invest in faculty in terms of leadership development,” said Safiya George, dean of the College of Nursing.

Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of FHA, said that the issues leading to the projected nursing shortage are multifaceted and the rising demand is somewhat unique to the state. 

“You have to just acknowledge that Florida has 1,000 people a day, on average, moving to the state and many of those individuals are over the age of 65. So the demand for healthcare services in Florida is just skyrocketing which puts greater pressure on the overall capacity of the healthcare workforce,” Mayhew said. “Then we were experiencing shortages of our health care professionals before the pandemic. The pandemic was like a gasoline can over that fire that has just intensified the shortage.”

Aisha Pyatt, first vice president of the Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando, said the pandemic intensified the experience of incoming nurses. 

“During the pandemic, you had all the new nurses getting out of nursing school. When you just started nursing school, the plan was always to “oh you have to start in med-surg” and maybe if you go to med-surg you could build up and one day get into a more critical care unit,” Pyatt said. 

“You have people getting out of that situation, and it’s right smack in the middle of COVID, and you’re immediately a critical care nurse. And you just saw a lot of things in a really short amount of time.”

Pyatt stressed the importance of mental health awareness for nurses struggling with burnout. 

“To just deal with certain things on a daily basis, it’s not normal, it’s not a normal everyday thing to do. Definitely pushing mental health awareness, it’s almost easier to take care of other people than ourselves,” Pyatt said.

Nursing school administrators plan to make hundreds of thousands of dollars available to students — $200,000 to be exact — to help those who run into financial emergencies during future semesters.

“We’re hoping to be able to help students remain in nursing school, even while facing financial difficulties, as well as expanding enrollment for students and increase our faculty capacity,” George said. 

Mary Rasura is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this article or others, you can email her at [email protected] or send a DM @maryrasura.

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Erika Fletcher
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a senior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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