TAMPA, Fla. — With the ongoing nursing shortages that are plaguing the Sunshine State, there is a new partnership that may help alleviate some stress for students aspiring to be nurses.
The Accelerated Second Degree pathway gives students with bachelor's degrees the ability to obtain a nursing degree through a four-semester, 16-month program. Moffitt leaders say they are committed to supporting the students with this possible ideal entry into nursing practice.
The scholarship includes both tuition and fees for the entire program.
“We are so happy to be in this partnership with USF," Jane Fusilero, Moffitt’s chief nursing officer, said in a statement. "These accelerated students will be a way for us to continue to build our pipeline of nurses for the future. It has been a great relationship working with the Dean and her faculty."
The only requirement? Students who apply for the scholarship have to make a commitment to work for Moffitt for two years after graduating.
The goal of this partnership is to "bridge the academic-practice gap by blending on-the-job training for student nurses with a structured transition program to the role of the professional nurse," USF Health leaders explain in the release.
“We are very grateful and excited about this new opportunity through Moffitt Cancer Center for our second-degree nursing students,” Usha Menon, dean of the USF Health College of Nursing said in a statement. “These students cannot always access traditional scholarships available to those attending college for the first time."
Menon says the Moffitt scholarship will allow students to focus on their studies in the targeted pathway to professional practice as a nurse.
This scholarship comes at a time when Florida doesn't have enough nurses. Reports show if population and professional trends continue, the state will be short nearly 60,000 nurses by 2035.
The report commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida last year found that 14 years from now, Florida will lack 59,100 nurses including 37,400 registered nurses (RN) and 21,700 licensed practical nurses (LPN) needed to care for all of its residents.
The authors of the report used population demographics, predictions, and workplace trends to come up with their analysis.
The main takeaway: There are too few nurses entering the profession and too many walking away mid-career. Florida's demographics make matters worse.
With the population of people ages 65-74 projected to increase by 32 percent and the 75 and older population projected to increase by 74 percent over the next 14 years, the demand for nurses will only grow. The older a person is, the more likely they are to need medical attention.
But nursing shortages are not only affecting Florida. The medical field is seeing numbers of nurses leaving their jobs all across the country.
The reasoning behind the shortages? High demand and low supply, the University of St. Augustine (USA) report in a data study.
The university says rising demand, retirement drain, location factor, the stress of the job and lack of educators for the nurse are the main reasons behind why there is a nursing shortage in the first place.
With this in mind, what solutions are there to fix this issue?
According to USA, greater access to education, strategic workplace accommodations and flexibility along with lobbying and advocacy could possibly help in the fight against the shortage.
10 Tampa Bay reporter Liz Crawford contributed to this report.