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Nursing Advisory Council makes recommendations to help gain more nurses

Posted at 9:34 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 21:34:30-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's no secret that nursing is a high demand job, but that doesn't mean they have enough nurses to fully staff hospitals.

Keiser University formed the Nursing Advisory Council last July, as a way to address some of the issues with the nursing shortage. Belinda Keiser, Vice Chancellor of Keiser University, said the nursing shortages impacts things like critical care.

"We hear from nurses in the talent pile and there's burnout. They care about quality," Keiser said. "The hospitals are stepping up by hiring as many as they can. But with the growth in Florida the demand for nurses continues."

According to a 2021 report from the Florida Hospital Association, it's expected there will be 60,000 nursing vacancies in the state of Florida by 2035. The nursing advisory council made recommendations to lawmakers including childcare incentives, and grants for students like Ease Plus.

Bob Boyd, President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, said they're hoping to use programs like Ease Plus to their advantage.

"Any student in a high demand degree, for example nursing or teaching, can get an extra 1,000 dollars per year to pursue those degrees. We hope that that incentive enhances the number of nurses we can produce," said Boyd.

Boyd said ICUF colleges and universities currently produce about 3600 nurses per year, but with these incentives they can nearly triple the amount of nurses they turnout from their schools.

"We're looking at increasing the production to about 10,000 nurses from our sector per year," Boyd explained. "And we think with these incentives and proposals we can get there."

Keiser says the council does get feedback from hospitals and nurses so they can share those experiences with lawmakers, with the hope that it will affect policy in addressing the nursing shortage.

The state legislature already has bills in the senate and the house that will create pathways for military combat medics to become nurses.

"We believe the best way to address this is on the ground and in the legislature," said Keiser. "But together I believe with an ongoing commitment and annual commitment, we will see this nursing shortage tackled effectively, and we'll have more nurses."

The Covid pandemic was a contributing factor to the nursing shortage. ICUF hopes these recommendations will get more people interested in the healthcare field.