Nurses Needed, STAT

Concerns over nursing shortages are nothing new. In fact, shortages have been a recurring dilemma since the 1970s. But recent changes are underscoring the need to identify workable solutions.

Polk County’s population influx has hit a fevered pitch. According to the latest Census data, more people moved to Polk County than any other county in the U.S. last year. But just how many people is that? A staggering 29,300. 

Numbers like that are impressive on their own. Now consider that those 29,300 people need health care. That’s a tough adjustment for any county to accommodate, let alone one that was already in the midst of a shortage before that influx.

That’s why schools like Polk State College, Florida Southern College, Southeastern University, AdventHealth University, and Webber International University are all working to bring more nursing students on board. In addition, BayCare Health System and FSU College of Nursing have partnered to offer the BayCare Fellows Program at Winter Haven Hospital. The program offers exclusive opportunities for senior nursing students intending to pursue careers at the hospital.

In the meantime, providing a more satisfying experience for current nursing professionals already in the profession could go a long way. Incentives such as improved benefits, flexible scheduling, retention programs, and opportunities for career advancement only work to make our nurse force stronger.

Be sure to check out our May edition of Central Florida Health News, where we celebrate area nurses and offer a peek into the various challenges and opportunities the industry faces. 

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