The University of Florida announced it will recruit about 20 new faculty members as it prepares to train and educate baccalaureate-prepared nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse scientists in the coming year to help abate a looming nursing shortage in the state.
The UF College of Nursing estimates enrollment in its B.S.N program at UF Health Jacksonville will increase by 50% over current enrollment in 2023, and will double by 2025. Enrollment in the nursing program in Gainesville is also expected to increase in the coming year by about 15%.
The $3.6 million is from a state grant called “Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education,” or PIPELINE. Included in the state budget passed earlier this year by the Florida Legislature, the PIPELINE funds are recurring.
“As the preeminent nursing institution in the state, we are proud to champion the advancement of nursing education,” said UF College of Nursing Dean, Anna McDaniel. “With the PIPELINE funding, we will not only increase the supply of front line BSN-prepared nurses but also grow our graduate student body, which will contribute to the nursing faculty pipeline and further address the current nursing shortage.”
An analysis of the state’s nursing workforce released last year by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida shows a need for about 60,000 additional nurses over the next 15 years.
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 press release announcing the PIPELINE funding doesn’t provide a financial breakdown of how the $3.6 million will be spent on faculty versus how much will be spent on providing scholarships to nursing students with unmet financial needs and to students willing to pursue a career in nursing education.
Funds also will be spent on buying, repairing and updating equipment at both the Gainesville and Jacksonville campuses. The Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Lab, will also benefit from the additional funds.