NewsLocal News


TMH, FSU Academic Health Center set to help local nursing shortage

Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 19:06:24-05

The Florida Hospital Association predicts Florida will face a shortage of 59,100 nurses by 2035. To help reduce that number, a new facility is set to house Tallahassee's newest nursing program.

Florida State University is using a $125 million grant to establish a building for clinical care, treatment research, and medical education. Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is donating land on their campus to FSU to build a new Academic Health Center that will not only bring in new health care professionals but also help retain the ones already here.

"It means a lot for our students. I think it's a game changer," said Jing Wang.

Wang is the Dean of Florida State University's College of Nursing. She is excited to see FSU build a new 130,000 square foot Academic Health Center which will allow nursing students to develop research and train alongside medical professionals at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

"We don't want to educate our nursing students in an ivory tower, so having an academic health center really prepares them perfectly for what they're going to do when they graduate," said Wang.

CEO and President of TMH Mark O'Bryant believes the best way to create a great pool of doctors is having students get hands on training with high quality healthcare professionals. He said partnering with FSU Nursing is key to retention and increasing the quality of care in Tallahassee.

"This will give us a platform to actually keep a lot of those medical school graduates, keep them in residency programs here, develop fellowship programs, allow them to stay in this community during their training process," said O'Bryant.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 194,5000 average annual openings for registered nurses between now and 2030. Executive Director of the Florida Nurses Association Willa Fuller said there are many qualified nursing students out there, but they're being turned away due to lack of staffing.

"There's not enough space for them for learning because there's a capacity at hospitals. You can't just put 20 nurses on a floor if you don't have 20 preceptors to train them," said Fuller.

Wang said creating the academic health center will allow their program to continue to grow; putting more qualified nurses in the workforce.

"More opportunities, more space, better doctors and nurses again to train these nurses in our college of nursing with our expansion to really address the nursing shortage."

FSU is still in the early planning stages for the new facility and does not have a groundbreaking date just yet.