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A potential nursing shortage is threatening Florida’s healthcare system and the state’s universities and colleges are devising creative solutions to graduate more nurses. The Florida Center for Nursing predicts a need for 114,000 more nurses by 2023 as the healthcare demand from baby boomers increases in tandem with retiring nurses. However, there are more potential students competing for nursing spots in schools than there are positions available. Florida universities report that they’re forced to turn away up to two-thirds of nursing applicants at the bachelor’s degree level. 

One solution posed by Florida nursing schools is to change how registered nurses get real-world practice with patient care. Most programs require students to complete clinical hours to get hands-on experience outside the classroom but a shortage of nursing faculty has limited the ability to take on more students in real-world clinical settings. An increasing number of Florida nursing schools are offering simulation scenarios to give students comparable clinical experience. 

Dr. Ora Strickland, dean of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International University, tells wfla.com, “We would be unable to accept as many as we do if not for the simulation center.”

Simulation training mirrors the hospital settings, allowing students to make decisions and then observe those decisions through on-the-spot feedback from nurse educators. Florida’s State Board of Nursing now allows students to complete up to half of their clinical hours in simulation labs based on clinical research on the effectiveness of simulation training. Simulation centers can also be used to educate nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and other nursing graduate students. 

To learn more about how Florida universities are working to find creative solutions to meet the demand for nurses, visit here

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