Public and private partnerships essential to address nursing shortage
Monday, April 24, 2023
Written by: Seminole State Staff
There is no denying that the need for healthcare workers has never been greater. Recent reports 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 College of Florida is working hard to do its part to address the shortage of nurses, respiratory therapists and other health professionals, and maintain quality health care in Central Florida and around the state through valuable partnerships.
Seminole State is actively engaged with local medical centers and practices, education institutions, business leaders and health care executives to expand nursing program opportunities and increase the number of students enrolled.
Seminole State has had a strong relationship with AdventHealth, HCA Healthcare and Orlando Health for decades, each providing resources to assist with educational program expansion. A recent piece to one of these partnerships is Orlando Health.
In Spring 2022, the first group of senior nursing students began receiving hands-on learning in Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital’s Dedicated Education Unit (DEU). Through this project, students worked alongside experienced nurses in South Seminole’s progressive care unit, a step below the intensive care unit, and shadowed in other departments of the hospital to diversify their experience. The project allows students to gain valuable skills leading to employment after graduation. The hospital expects to have 24 nursing students participate in the project each year, providing advanced training in skills such as, advanced cardiac life support, phlebotomy and electrocardiogram interpretation.
“Partnerships are essential in creating a nursing pipeline and meeting the needs of the community,” said Nancy Gasper, dean of nursing at Seminole State College. “Our dedicated and talented faculty are educating some of the best and brightest nursing students in Central Florida. This unique partnership with Orlando Health, which complements our classroom and simulation training, is creating opportunities for our students to learn some of the real-world skills they need to quickly transition into their careers caring for the patients in our community who need it most.”
Seminole State is also an Orlando Health Preferred Education Program (PEP) 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 tuition and books directly to the College on their behalf. The expanded PEP offers an opportunity for team members to pursue programs including nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, respiratory care, physical therapy, emergency medical technology, health services administration, health sciences, information technology, business, construction, hospitality and more. Team members will receive one-on-one support from Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions academic coaches and Seminole State’s Student Affairs staff, who will help guide them through every step of their academic journey.
Additionally, Seminole State’s nursing program is supported financially and programmatically by AdventHealth and HCA Healthcare. College and senior leaders of these organizations are in discussion about future nursing partnerships. A similar partnership, a DEU project, was developed with AdventHealth Winter Park Hospital and launched in Fall 2022 with eight senior nursing students, Seminole State faculty and trained AdventHealth Winter Park preceptors. This opportunity is expected to help reduce the nursing shortage in Central Florida while producing skilled and workforce-ready nurses.
However, in order to continue to successfully close the nursing shortage gap, increased and sustainable funding from the state and private partners is needed.
Seminole State’s Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Nursing (RN) is routinely over-subscribed. The College currently has more than 500 active students in the program and can expand the number of enrolled students with more building infrastructure and teaching staff. Nursing is one of the principal programs at the Altamonte Springs Campus, where students have access to state-of-the-art healthcare labs, high-tech patient simulation and clinical experiences. To increase capacity in healthcare programs, the College needs to add a new building to house instructional space for high-wage, high-demand nursing and other health care programs and provide STEM instructional space.
Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ visit to Seminole State's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus on May 16, 2022, to announce $125 million in funding for nursing education in Florida, College leadership is confident the legislature will allocate the funding to allow expansion of programs and capacity.
“Seminole State remains committed to ensuring our nursing programs, along with allied health programs in health sciences, physical and respiratory therapy, pharmacy and paramedic programs, continue to train the skilled healthcare workforce necessary to care for every Floridian,” said Dr. Georgia Lorenz, president of Seminole State College.
Seminole State 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 (according to first-time pass rates on the NCLEX). Based at the Altamonte Springs Campus, the program’s facilities feature state-of-the-art healthcare labs and high-tech patient simulators. The nursing program offers an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in Nursing (RN) and an RN-to-BSN Online (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). The RN-to-BSN program launched in 2018 and offers students flexibility to work and go to school at the same time, and answers the health care industry’s call for nurses with advanced training, providing graduates with high-growth, high-paying jobs.
For more information on Seminole State College’s nursing programs, visit seminolestate.edu/nursing.
Seminole State College’s Ann Wiggins Moore Center for Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, based at the College’s Altamonte Springs Campus, offers programs for nursing, health information management, medical transcription, physical therapist assistant, respiratory therapist and pharmacy technician. For more information, visit the healthcare website, or call 407.404.6004.