How UCF is addressing a growing nursing shortage

Nearly 60K shortfall of nurses expected by 2035

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – They are the backbone of our health care system, but a lot of nurses are leaving the field.

The Florida Hospital Association projects within the next 12 years, Florida will be short 59,100 nurses.

The Dean of the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing, Mary Lou Sole, joined Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden on Florida’s Fourth Estate to talk more about it.

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Sole said the COVID-19 pandemic drove a lot of nurses to retire early.

She said it’s something being felt across our country.

“It is a national problem but it’s really exacerbated in Florida because of our growth,” Sole said.

You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below:

So, UCF is stepping in to fill the gap.

Sole said lawmakers awarded her college “nearly $7 million last year that is supposed to be recurring to grow enrollment.”

She said the first step is to grow enrollment by 50%,

“Which means graduating another 150 nurses a year,” Sole said.

Her college recently helped enroll 110 new nursing students.

Sole said the college is also using the money to hire more faculty and staff and focus on student success.

“We are busting at the seams,” she said. “We are beginning planning a building on the Lake Nona campus.”

To learn more check out Florida’s Fourth Estate. You can download it from wherever you listen to podcasts or watch it anytime on News 6+.

About the Author:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 3:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.