At least 50,300. That’s the number of registered nurses the Florida Center for Nursing estimates the state will be short by 2025.
The bad news? The organization expects the shortage to worsen.
The good news? If you want to become a nurse, there’s never been a better time or place to enter the profession. If you want to transition into the field, accessible, accredited nursing programs such as Utica College’s Florida ABSN programs in the Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale-Miami areas exist to help you accelerate your path to nursing in as few as 16 months.
Utica College is based in Utica, New York, so what is it doing in Florida? The answer is simple: to help address the Sunshine State’s current and projected future nursing shortage.
Why is there a nursing shortage in Florida? Due to changes in health insurance that required more highly skilled nurses and the state’s growing overall population, about 12,000 nursing vacancies remained unfilled in the state in 2015, twice as many as in 2009, according to the Florida Center of Nursing. The problem could worsen as older nurses in the workforce retire and the state’s aging population continues to grow faster than almost any other state.
Florida legislators have been attempting to fix this problem since 2009. Their solution? Simplify and accelerate the process for new schools to open by permitting trade schools and colleges to start nursing programs without the state’s Board of Nursing approval.
While their plan to increase the quantity of nursing schools worked — 231 more schools opened from 2009 to 2013, and the number of nursing program graduates rose about 30 percent during the same period — reports show it had an adverse effect on school quality. For 2013, 73 percent of nursing program graduates were 10 percentage points or more below the national NCLEX test average, according to a 2014 state report.
Even with the state re-tightening nursing school standards in recent years, a shortage of highly qualified nurses remains. Many of the schools that failed to produce enough graduates who could pass the NCLEX have since closed, but many Florida nursing colleges lack the capacity and resources to keep up with the statewide demand for nurses. For one, reports show many nursing programs in Florida are especially short when it comes to faculty members with doctoral degrees.
Another reason? Hospitals aren’t expanding in the state, so there aren’t enough clinical practice sites for nursing students to complete their clinical rotations, a vital component of any future nurse’s education. That’s certainly the case in Southwest Florida, where nursing educators say the shortage of nurses is due to lack of space to train students.
As a result, many nursing schools are still rejecting otherwise qualified candidates, representative of a much larger nationwide trend. In 2017, nursing schools across the country rejected more than 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Seeing the need for highly qualified nurses as well as the shortage of accredited nursing programs available in Florida to help students pass licensure exams to meet this need, Utica College saw an opportunity to bring its brand of quality nursing education to the Sunshine State.
With a quarter century’s worth of experience providing innovative, accessible and accredited nursing programs to help meet the needs of Central New York, Utica College’s ABSN program is uniquely qualified to help address Florida’s nursing shortage.
Because Utica College is a nonprofit college and UticaABSN is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, you can feel confident that both of our accredited, accelerated nursing programs in the Tampa Bay and Miami-Fort Lauderdale areas will prepare you for the nursing profession.
The Utica College ABSN program also has a track record of setting up students for future nursing success. The proof is in the numbers: In 2016, Utica College’s St. Petersburg graduates had an ABSN NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate of 94%. (Note: We don’t have NCLEX data available for the South Florida site because it has not yet had a graduating cohort, but are confident our students there will achieve great results as well thanks to our rigorous blended learning model.)
Our Florida ABSN programs have partnerships with top area healthcare facilities where students can learn how to deliver safe, ethical and competent patient care in a variety of real-world settings, including:
What’s more, clinical rotations start the first semester of UticaABSN, so you can expect to dive right into your nursing education. We’re able to do all of this while still maintaining an 8:1 faculty-to-student ratio in our clinical rotations, allowing our clinical instructors the time to focus on helping you succeed as a future nurse.
In addition to maintaining high academic standards, our CCNE-accredited ABSN programs near Miami and Tampa can fast track your path to an in-demand nursing career in Florida. So not only are you earning a nursing degree from a highly respected institution, you’re able to do so sooner.
With two locations in the state, three start dates per year and a 16-month accelerated academic calendar, we have the bandwidth to accept more qualified students than other area nursing schools.
The Utica College ABSN program also has the resources to admit qualified students to nursing school without the wait. That’s because unlike other nursing schools where students complete prerequisites first then wait for an admission decision on acceptance as a nursing student, we offer a way for students to reserve their seat in the Utica ABSN program if they take all prerequisite courses 100% online through Utica College. Through our Prerequisite Priority (PREP) program, we can admit applicants as nursing students, who then take prerequisites on Utica College’s online learning platform.
By becoming a nurse, not only are you helping to address the state’s nursing shortage, you’ll be entering into a profession that offers flexibility and immense personal satisfaction. As a nurse, you can make a difference in the lives of patients and society every day!
Not to mention, because your skills are in high demand in Florida, once you graduate and pass the NCLEX you likely won’t struggle to find a nursing job. Some Florida hospitals, including some in the Tampa Bay area, are aggressively recruiting nurses in the form of five-figure bonuses and other perks.
If you’re ready to pursue a high-demand career path that allows you to make a difference, the Utica College ABSN program in Tampa Bay and South Florida can help you make it happen. Take the first step by reaching out to one of our admission representatives today!
Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.