University of Florida’s Nursing Diversity Program Serves as a National Model

University of Florida’s Nursing Diversity Program Serves as a National Model

The University of Florida (UF) College of Nursing has created an innovative research and leadership program for underrepresented undergraduate students. The EMBRACE program—Engaging Multiple-communities of BSN students in Research and Academic Curricular Experiences—was created in 2016 and has continued to evolve to meet the needs of students and changes in education and healthcare. 

The central pillar of the program is mentorship and each participating student is paired with a nursing faculty member who best matches the student’s research interest. Students are expected to complete a research, leadership, educational, or quality improvement project with their faculty mentor and participate in monthly meetings. The framework of the program now serves as a model for other colleges seeking to create opportunities to advance diversity and inclusion of underrepresented students. 

Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, a College of Nursing associate professor and director of diversity and inclusion, tells, “Junior and senior students who are part of the EMBRACE program are receiving hands-on experiences in research, evidence-based practice and leadership opportunities. During the monthly meetings, they also learn from their peers and from guest speakers, such as alumni who are leaders in research, policy or entrepreneurship, and also current students. The EMBRACE students have the opportunity to present in research conferences, be part of internal and external professional committees and compete for academic awards that acknowledge their work.”

The EMBRACE program takes an innovative approach to motivate students with a diverse background to think about their next steps and have the ability to see themselves advance as nurse leaders. Stacciarini hopes the program will encourage other nursing schools to develop similar diversity programs and believes that recognizing the dynamic shift in the country’s population will be at the forefront of creating a learning environment that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds.

To learn more about how the University of Florida College of Nursing’s diversity program has become a national model, visit here.

New Florida Bill Aimed to Help State Nursing Shortage

New Florida Bill Aimed to Help State Nursing Shortage

Technical schools have been lobbying Florida state legislators so more students can become registered nurses. As a result, Florida House Bill 381 is under review with the Florida House of Representative’s Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee. Language from the bill states that it would “…[authorize] school district career centers to conduct certain associate degree nursing programs.”

Manatee Technical College is leading the charge on this movement with support from Florida Association for Career and Technical Education. Currently, MTC offers a licensed practical nursing program, but technical schools cannot offer RN programs. If passed, the new legislation will allow Florida technical schools and centers to provide transition programs, where students who complete the licensed program can continue their education. This path could create more opportunities for students to take the state exam and become registered nurses.

“We’re not trying to compete with the state college,” MTC spokeswoman Maura Howl shared with “We’re trying to offer our graduates an opportunity they currently don’t have. It’s all about career pathways — to give students stepping stones to progress.”

Florida anticipates that there will be nearly 114,000 openings for registered nurses from 2017 through 2023. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity lists nearly 3900 of those openings within Manatee and Sarasota counties alone.

Keeping Up Nurse Recruitment Efforts

With Florida feeling the nursing shortage, healthcare employers, like Tidewell Hospice, are grateful for more opportunities for nursing students to become registered nurses. Presently, Tidewell has 17 open positions for registered nurses and seven open positions for licensed practical nurses. Cindy Coffman, Vice President of Human Resources at Tidewell, said some roles were posted over four months and have not received any applications.

“None of us can fill the job openings,” Coffman told “The applicant volume isn’t there. We’re really feeling it at this point.”

Tidewell has taken several steps to fill its nursing roles, including social media campaigns, hiring a nurse recruiter, and increasing bonuses. Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, another Manatee-Sarasota healthcare provider, has also been using new strategies to keep their nursing positions filled. LRMC Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young explained how the organization offers clinical rotations to local nursing schools, as well as a 12-week residency program.

“We’ve taken these creative steps to really embrace existing and potential new RNs coming into our program,” Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s Director of Marketing Lisa Kirkland told “We’re trying to stay one step ahead of the nursing shortage issue.”

As of January 30, the bill is under review with several education subcommittees. If approved, it will go into effect on July 1.

Florida International University Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Florida International University Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Florida International University (FIU) has received a $1.5 million grant for a university-based program to train sexual assault nurse examiners to work in rural and underserved areas of Florida. A partnership with FIU’s Global Forensic and Justice Center will increase access to forensic nurse specialists at clinics in Sweetwater, Belle Glade, Hendry, and Glades counties.

According to a press release from FIU Nursing, nearly 80 percent of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, in part because of a severe shortage of license health care specialists called sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), who help properly secure evidence from survivors of sexual assault, which can lead to higher prosecution rates.

FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, in partnership with the Global Forensic and Justice Center, will collaborate with rural health clinics and hospitals as part of a university-based program to double the number of SANE-certified nurses in Florida to aid sexual assault survivors in rural and underserved communities.

The US Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the $1.5 million grant to Tami Thomas, associate dean of research for the FIU Nursing, to launch the Advanced Nursing Education-Regionally Underserved Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (RUSANE) program. SANE-certified nurses conduct forensic medical examinations and provide survivors with physical and mental health care to help deal with their trauma.

FIU’s RUSANE program will recruit, train, and deploy 30 eligible licensed registered nurses and certified advanced practice registered nurses over the next three years. To learn more about the $1.5 million grant awarded to FIU Nursing to train sexual assault nurse examiners to work in rural and underserved areas of Florida, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Registered Nurse Leslie Silcox Leads Organized Recovery Efforts to Help Victims of Hurricane Michael

Nurse of the Week: Registered Nurse Leslie Silcox Leads Organized Recovery Efforts to Help Victims of Hurricane Michael

Our Nurse of the Week is Leslie Silcox, a registered nurse from Knoxville, Tennessee, who has been organizing hurricane relief efforts for years in her own spare time. Most recently, she helped pack supplies to send to Florida following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Silcox’s hurricane relief efforts began in 2012 when she randomly opened her Facebook page and saw images of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York. She wished there was something she could do to help, and realized that maybe there was. Silcox posted on her own Facebook page asking for volunteers, and within 3 days had filled a 20-foot Budget truck with relief supplies and headed to Staten Island.

Silcox was at it again last week packing supplies to send to Florida to help the individuals impacted by Hurricane Michael. She organized a group of other nurses who went down to help evacuate nursing homes as the storm hit. Her role was doing the legwork of organizing where to send her volunteers, in addition to still helping victims of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.

Silcox tells, “If we as human beings would reach out to our brothers and sisters and our neighbors, this world would be so much more amazing.”

To learn more about registered nurse Leslie Silcox and her efforts to help victims of Hurricane Michael, visit here.

Florida State University Faculty Member Inducted as Fellow in American Academy of Nursing

Florida State University Faculty Member Inducted as Fellow in American Academy of Nursing

A member of the Florida State University (FSU) College of Nursing faculty has been selected for induction as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing. Professor James Whyte IV, ND, PhD, ARNP, FNAP, is one of 195 distinguished nurse leaders who will join more than 2,500 academy fellows who are nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice, and research around the world.

Whyte tells, “It is an honor to be recognized as a fellow by the American Academy of Nursing. I am hopeful that being admitted into the academy as a fellow will open new doors to me as a researcher and leader in nursing. I intend to keep working hard to forward my program of research.”

Whyte began his career in the US Marines and was later selected for a commissioning program in which he chose the Nurse Corps option. After traveling extensively and serving all over the world during his service, Whyte later entered academia to further his work with young people and engage in his research free of the demands of military service.

Now Whyte maintains active clinical practice as a nurse practitioner, with a focus in family and pediatric care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and people living with HIV/AIDS. His research focuses on the development of expert performance in nurses and other health care professionals, along with care of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Whyte holds a doctorate in nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a doctorate in public health from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. To learn more about his induction as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing, visit here.

Florida International University Nursing Apprenticeships Promote Rural Primary Care

Florida International University Nursing Apprenticeships Promote Rural Primary Care

Florida International University’s (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences has awarded $100,000 in traineeship grants to five FIU nurse practitioner graduate students to participate in the pilot of the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) program.

ANEW is a two-year nursing education initiative funded by the US Human Resources & Services Administration to prepare advanced practice nurses to provide primary care in rural and underserved areas.

Tami Thomas, associate dean of research for the college and ANEW grant project director, tells, “Many of today’s 60 million rural Americans are uninsured, at risk for increased health risk behaviors, and live in poverty at even higher levels than what we see in our big cities. ANEW addresses this inequity by familiarizing nurse practitioners with the challenges and opportunities of working in rural health care settings and preparing them to work to the fullest scope of their abilities.”

The health departments of Glades and Hendry counties will be providing five clinical sites and onsite instructional supervisors to guide the trainees during their training program. FIU nursing faculty will also supplement the training by using telehealth systems to help ANEW trainees deliver care at the clinics.

The first cohort of ANEW trainees are all graduate nursing students from FIU’s Family Nurse Practitioner track. Each trainee will receive up to $20,000 to help cover tuition, living and housing expenses, and textbooks. Their clinical rotation begins in summer 2018.

To learn more about FIU’s rural primary care nursing apprenticeship program and the first cohort of trainees, visit here.

Listen to the Chapter Podcasts for Jonas and Kovner's Health Care Delivery in the United States

Gain a better understanding of the current state of the US health care system and how it might impact your work and life.

You have Successfully Subscribed!