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Community bands together to bridge healthcare workforce shortage gap

Local organizations hiring and training more nurses
Posted at 11:14 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 23:14:34-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "One of the worst staffing shortages the hospitals have ever seen."

According to Mary Mayhew, the President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, hospital shortages are at an all-time high. That's due to job stress from the pandemic and more open positions outside of the hospital that is less demanding. Locally, healthcare workers are jumping ship at hospitals and long-term care facilities.

"We've got people that are burnt out from COVID they're leaving the profession to go work somewhere where it's easier," Kristin Knapp, a spokesperson with the Florida Healthcare Association, said.

That's where Tallahassee Community College is stepping in, to hire up to seven additional full-time faculty to teach more students in the nursing program. They're also hiring adjuncts that can assist in-hospital clinical training with students, plus they're increasing pay for adjuncts. TCC is working with Florida State University and Florida A&M to recruit more nursing faculty from their programs.

"In order to help the shortage, we need to be able to increase the number of students that we are admitting to the program," Calandra Stringer, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at TCC, said.

This will allow the program to admit up to 200 students a semester- doubling student enrollment which will help fill the workforce gap, locally.

"If you think about TMH and Capital Regional we're really that pipeline because our students want to stay here because this is home for them."

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare is bridging the gap by hiring more RN's and LPN's, both new graduates and experienced nurses. TMH will be making on-the-spot job offers this week at a hiring event to fill the need across all divisions and specialties. Plus, they're working with local schools like TCC, FSU, and FAMU to keep the pipeline coming.

"It used to be that nurses would stay for 20, 30, 40 years at one hospital and that's not the way it is anymore I mean two, three, four years and then people move on, we want people to know that you can move up in your career here at TMH," Executive Director of Clinical Engagement at TMH, Patricia Kenney, said.

The Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare hiring event is happening on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Florida Hospital Association said the demand for healthcare services will increase across the Big Bend as Florida continues to see a significant increase in its population.