Seminole State is working hard to address the nursing shortage in Florida

Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Written by: Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz

Several reports, including ones by the Florida Hospital Association, the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, and the Florida Healthcare Association, show that the Sunshine State is projected to be short 59,100 nurses by 2035. Seminole State is working hard to do our part to address the nursing shortage to maintain quality healthcare here in Central Florida and the state.

Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz
Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz

Earlier this month we launched our newest partnership with Orlando Health. Starting this semester, eight of our general nursing students are getting hands-on learning at Orlando Health South Seminole’s Dedicated Education Unit (DEU). Through the program, our students will work alongside experienced nurses in South Seminole’s progressive care unit, a step below the intensive care unit, and will have opportunities to shadow in other departments of the hospital to diversify their experience. The program allows our students to gain valuable skills and get hired after graduation.

Seminole State is also an Orlando Health Preferred Education Program partner which allows full-time and part-time Orlando Health employees to pursue an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or technical certificate with Orlando Health paying 100% of the cost of tuition and books directly to the College on their behalf. In addition to Orlando Health, Seminole State’s nursing leadership is also in dialog with AdventHealth and HCA Healthcare about future nursing partnerships. 

In December, Seminole State participated in a Nursing Summit called by University of Central Florida President Dr. Alex Cartwright to address the regional nursing workforce needs in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. The summit involved 30 individuals from across the region representing both higher education and healthcare. The group reviewed important data which summarized the challenges both our region and the state of Florida face. The primary recommendation coming out of the summit was to increase the capacity of our nursing programs with a goal of doubling the number of new RN graduates in the next five years. Participants also recognized the need for more facilities and equipment to facilitate this growth in student numbers.

Seminole State’s Associate in Science (A.S.), Nursing (RN) degree is routinely over-subscribed.  We currently have 530 active students in the program and can expand the number of students if we had more building infrastructure and staff. Nursing is one of the principal programs at our Altamonte Springs Campus, where students have access to state-of-the-art healthcare labs, high-tech patient simulation and clinical experiences. In order to increase capacity in our healthcare programs, the College needs to add a new building to house instructional space for high-wage, high-demand nursing and other healthcare programs and provide STEM instructional space.   We are confident the legislature will allocate the funding to allow us to expand the programs and capacity. 

Three years ago, Seminole State launched an RN-to-BSN Online program (Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing) to answer the health care industry’s call for nurses with advanced training and provides graduates with high-growth, high-paying jobs. Courses for the RN-to-BSN are offered entirely online, enabling students to continue working while pursuing their bachelor’s degree. We currently have 153 students enrolled and 161 students have graduated from the program which is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). ACEN is recognized as the accrediting body for all types of nursing education by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  

Everyone at Seminole State remains committed to ensuring our nursing programs, along with our allied health programs in health sciences, physical and respiratory therapy,  pharmacy and paramedic programs, continue to train the skilled health care workforce necessary to care for every Floridian.

About Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz

Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz is the president of Seminole State College of Florida, a position she has occupied since August 2018. Passionate about open access and providing opportunities for all to a high quality, affordable college education, Dr. Lorenz previously served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Santa Monica College (SMC) in California. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning and Administration from USC and a Master of Science in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

About Seminole State College of Florida and its Nursing Program

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. The College’s nursing program, part of the Ann Wiggins Moore Center for Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and by the Florida State Board of Nursing (2014-21).
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