Nurse Shortage Increases in Florida
Nurse Shortage is Real
Every year National Nurses week honors nurses in May, or from May 6th to May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthday). The founder of modern nursing valued a commitment to care and compassion – hallmarks that give nursing its ethical and honest standing.
However, nurses, while greatly valued, still are in short supply in the Sunshine State. Moreover, the Florida Center for Nursing revealed that over 40% of the state’s nurses are close to retirement, which will worsen the current shortage. In fact, experts expect that the demand for nurses will be so great in 2025 that it could cripple Florida’s healthcare system and negatively impact the medical care Floridians receive.
The Demand is Outpacing the Enrollments
If you are seeking work as a licensed or registered nurse in Florida, you won’t have much trouble finding a job. While an enrollment increase was reported by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, it still is not large enough to meet the projected future demand for nurses.
These reports may leave you wondering why the demand is so great. According the statisticians, students at colleges do have a great interest in nursing. In fact, the field attracts many qualified candidates. However, not all the candidates get accepted. Educational institutions do not have the financial means nor enough staff support to produce the pool of nurses that hospitals, nursing homes, or medical centers require.
For example, nursing schools in the US rejected the applications of almost 70,000 applicants in 2014. They simply could not accommodate their educational needs. In two-thirds of the nursing schools, teacher shortages made it impossible to accept additional applicants.
Therefore, the real reason a lack of nurses exists is because schools need more nursing educators. If you are seeking a root cause for the problem, it originates at the college level. Schools have a hard time locating nursing professors, as many of the educators, like nurses, are nearing retirement age. In addition, nurses who are working toward master’s or doctoral degrees, are being swayed to take clinical jobs, such as nurse practitioner, which pay more money – about $20,000 more annually.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Shortage
As you can see, a cycle has developed that needs to be turned around. Any woman or man who wishes to work as a nurse can do something about the current crisis. For example, the choice of a college is critical. Choosing a university without a waiting list is a good way to begin. Also, check the following, when reviewing nursing programs and schools:
- Does the nursing program require pre-nursing classes before students are accepted or enrolled? All the training needed for the licensing exam should be included as a standard entrance option for a BSN.
- Does the college feature multiple campuses that support its nursing program? When more than one campus of a college offers a nursing curriculum, students normally do not have to sign up on a waiting list to start training.
- Does the college’s MSN program offer options for working nurses? If you work as a nurse already, an MSN program should be designed around your schedule. Seek out a program that offers a nursing education specialization or a nursing administration endorsement.
- What are the college’s transfer policies? The nursing program in which you enroll should be able to accept credits from most private and public universities and colleges. Make your hard work count by choosing a college that will accept prior academic credits.
- Does the college make it easy to go from an LPN to RN designation? If you can find a nursing program that enables you to sit for your licensure exam for practical nursing within a year, so much the better. This faster educational option makes it possible for you to enter the workforce sooner and gives you the chance to study for your RN licensure in the interim.
- How is the tuition structured? Your course fees for your nursing program should include all the required eBooks, CDs, and textbooks, including uniform and lab fees. You should be able to clearly see what you will be spending upfront.
Selecting a Nursing Program that You Can
Because of the need for nurses, it is important to explore the programs at colleges today. If you want to begin sooner, you may want to consider a diploma program in practical nursing and continue your education while your work. You can also obtain an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in professional nursing. Check the specializations offered for master of science nursing degree programs as well.
The best way to combat a shortage of nurses is to become fully proactive. Begin by attending a nursing information session at a college of your choosing. Again, find a program that does not feature a waiting list – a college that will help you get started on the road to a nursing career.
Inquiring about the Costs
Request more information about the programs offered and learn more about the costs and fees. Ask about financial aid and make sure the college offers a detailed educational plan. That way, you will know what to expect in your nursing training and career.
How to Attract More Teachers
With that said, legislators still need to intervene to make working as a nurse educator more attractive. Current nursing instructors suggest that schools can attract more educators by offering an income that is higher, or by paying for an educator’s advanced education degree.
In Florida, technical schools took a stance in February 2019. Representatives from the schools requested that laws be put into effect to add transition nursing programs to curriculums. That way, students who finish a licensed nursing program could continue their nursing education. This move would create more registered nursing opportunities and therefore reduce the shortage. While a Florida house ibll was filed, it did not pass in 2019. Hopefully, it will re-emerge in 2020.
In the interim, it is important for anyone seeking to become a nurse to carefully survey the educational opportunities. Do what you can to get involved in the field so you can make a small, yet significant, difference.