Florida hospitals battle nursing shortage

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November 24th, 2010

Hospitals in Florida are doing what they can to fight a state-wide shortage of healthcare workers by encouraging young people to pursue nursing degrees and improving working conditions, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The Florida Center for Nursing (FCN), a state workforce center based at the University of Central Florida, says 56,000 full-time nurses will be needed by 2025, due to a number of factors – including high turnover rates, limited access to educational programs, a rapidly aging patient population and healthcare reform.

Across the state, there is an estimated shortage of 5,900 full-time registered nurses. Currently, the two counties of Manatee and Sarasota have an estimated 249 full-time openings.

The FCN has proposed a two-pronged approach to tackling the shortage, which would include expanding nursing programs and embracing effective retention practices.

Some facilities are already offering more favorable working conditions to employees, and making it easier for them to continue their education. For several years, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has offered 100 percent tuition reimbursement for its registered nurses.

Jan Mauck, chief nursing officer at SMH, added that shorter shifts and more mentoring responsibilities for older registered nurses have helped his employer keep maturing individuals in the workforce.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a registered nurse is $62,450. 

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