During the economic recession a few years back, the University of Florida (UF) decided to phase out their Jacksonville nursing program, but after recently allocated funding totaling $500,000, the nursing program is starting back up.

Despite a number of nearby programs (Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, and Chamberlain College of Nursing), studies show there is a still a nursing shortage in the area. Demand for nursing students will increase with the opening of the UF nursing program and Health Hospital, but it will also help meet the needs of the local population which is experiencing a shortage of nurses. Competing nursing programs are welcoming back the UF program with the knowledge that there are far more aspiring nursing students than slots to fill at schools.

UF’s Jacksonville nursing program is open to students who already hold four-year degrees in other fields. Enrollment in the new program will allow them to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in 15 months. The revitalized program currently holds 21 students, but that number is expected to increase to 96 over the next few years. Anna McDaniel, Dean of the UF College of Nursing, says that their students come from all walks of life including those from other health fields, people out of the military, public school teachers, and even artists and musicians.

With plenty of demand for nurses and nursing students, the UF Jacksonville program expects to turn away about 90 percent of their applicants, 80 percent of which are fully qualified to become nurses. Unfortunately, there is just a lack of space. Nursing students at UF’s Jacksonville campus will work alongside other healthcare students working toward degrees in pharmacy and medicine. Total enrollment is expected to surpass a 300-person threshold which requires the school to be collectively re-named UF Health Jacksonville.

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