TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) β€” It’s no secret that nursing jobs are in high demand, but that doesn’t mean they have enough nurses to fully staff hospitals.

Last July, Keizer University formed a Nursing Advisory Council to address some of the nursing shortage issues. Belinda Kaiser, vice chancellor of Keizer University, said the nursing shortage is affecting things like critical care.

“We’re hearing from nurses across the talent pool, and there’s burnout. They care about quality,” Keizer said. “Hospitals are expanding, hiring as many as they can. But with the growth in Florida, the demand for nurses continues.”

According to the Florida Hospital Association’s 2021 report, the state of Florida is expected to have 60,000 nursing job openings by 2035. The Nursing Advisory Council made recommendations to lawmakers, including child care incentives and grants for students like Ease Plus.

Bob Boyd, president of Florida Independent Colleges and Universities, said they hope to use programs like Ease Plus to their advantage.

β€œAny student who is in high demand, like a nurse or a teacher, can get an extra $1,000 a year to get those degrees. We hope this incentive will increase the number of nurses we can train,” Boyd said.

Boyd said ICUF colleges and universities currently graduate about 3,600 nurses a year, but with these incentives, they could nearly triple the number of nurses coming out of their schools.

“We plan to increase production to approximately 10,000 nurses from our sector per year,” Boyd explained. “And we believe that with these incentives and proposals, we can achieve that.”

Keyser says the board does get feedback from hospitals and nurses so they can share that experience with lawmakers, with the hope that it will influence policy to address the nursing shortage.

The state legislature already has bills in the Senate and House that would create pathways for military combat medics to become nurses.

“We think the best way to deal with this is on the ground and in the legislature,” Kaiser said. “But I believe that together with the continuing commitment and the annual commitment, we will see an effective resolution of this nursing shortage and we will have more nurses.”

The Covid pandemic has caused a shortage of nurses. ICUF hopes that these recommendations will get more people interested in healthcare.

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