Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he will sign off on $125 million worth of programs that will help boost nursing education in the state.
DeSantis, who noted that his mother was a nurse for more than 40 years, announced his support for the funding at Seminole State College and was joined by a class of newly graduated nurses.
While DeSantis acknowledged nursing won’t make someone a millionaire, he called it a “commendable” career.
“You have opportunities in that profession to impact a lot of people in a positive way,” DeSantis said. “You really are making a difference.”
The Florida Hospital Association conducted an analysis last year that indicated Florida needed about 60,000 additional nurses over the next 15 years if the state wants to avoid a double-digit workforce deficit.
Released in September 2021, the Florida Nurse Workforce Projections: 2019 to 2035 analysis projected a 12% shortfall in the number of registered nurses and a 30% shortfall in the number of licensed practical nurses working in 2035 if the state doesn’t move to produce more nurses.
The findings helped inform some of the discussions lawmakers had in the spring about ways to beef up the nursing workforce. Initially, the House proposed the increased funding necessary should be paid for by Florida hospitals and released a budget that slashed funding for hospitals and beefed up education spending.
Ultimately, lawmakers agreed to spend what DeSantis called “new money” on increasing educational opportunities.
According to a Senate analysis, the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget directs $125 million in nurse training in three different education areas of the budget: $20 million for workforce training; $59 million for state colleges; and $46 million for the state university system, which includes Florida’s public universities.
DeSantis also indicated Monday that he supports fortifying the state’s physician workforce by increasing the amount of funding the state spends on graduate medical education programs that support physician residency programs. There is $38 million in increased funding for graduate medical education, but the Governor didn’t officially endorse the funding at Monday’s press conference, just hinting at his support.
The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida in December published an IHS Markit report showing Florida had a physician shortfall in 2019, with only enough physicians practicing in the state to cover about 93% of the demand for services.
By 2035, however, researchers project Florida will have 56,859 full-time physicians practicing in the state, which would only be enough to meet 76% of the demand unless the state moves to increase the number of physicians.
While legislative leaders have not officially sent the FY 2022-23 budget, DeSantis has issued vetoes every year since being elected Governor. DeSantis has hinted those vetoes are coming after lawmakers passed a record-high $112 billion budget.
“I think sometimes it’s actually easier for the Legislature to do the budget when it’s a little tighter because I think what they are able to say is, ‘Look, I just can’t afford it,’” DeSantis told reporters in late March.
“This year, they couldn’t tell anybody that their projects couldn’t be afforded because, honestly, we could afford it if we wanted to. It’s just about how much money you want to make sure we are building for future events and future surpluses.”
The 2022-23 budget covers state spending from July 1, 2022 through June 20, 2023.
May 16, 2022 at 5:26 pm
Tax ‘n Spend DeSantis at it again…
May 17, 2022 at 6:34 am
So go back to hosp based nursing classes and get out of the college/university way. It was hands on teaching learning and educating while in hospitals working. Best program ever is ON THE JOB TRAINING!!
May 21, 2022 at 10:28 am
My women’s group has been sponsoring a graduate of Wildwood High School (1 year ago) She desperately wants to be a nurse but must work full time. She must carry 4 courses to receive our scholarship. Her mother is on disability. Her sister is 16. Parents divorced and father seldom in the picture. Please, how can we help this womderful girl? She has complete 1 year but is loosing her scholarship because she cannot work full time and take 4 science courses.
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