The employment outlook for registered nurses will grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022 nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth is fueled by many things, including an increase in the need for preventative care and the aging baby boomer population. The need is particularly strong in Florida, where the Florida Center for Nursing predicts a shortage of 56,000 nurses will occur by 2025.
New York’s Utica College
plans to help address these needs with a new nursing program in St. Petersburg.
The idea came about as some of the college’s retired faculty living in the Tampa Bay area noticed the region’s growing healthcare industry.
"It seemed particularly important to us, given that we see different ways people can earn a nursing degree as a strategy for helping the residents of Florida," says Dale Scalise-Smith, VP of Utica College’s School of Online and Extended Studies and External Partnerships.
An innovative aspect of the program is its accelerated format, allowing someone with a Bachelor’s Degree in a subject other than nursing to enter the profession in 16 months. This is made possible because of the hybrid classroom and online delivery system which includes both classroom and lab work as well as clinical experiences.
"We really wanted to find innovative ways to deliver high quality education programs in a collaborative environment," says Scalise-Smith.
The intention is not to compete with, but rather complement existing programs to help fill the vacancies. Through an agreement with BayCare Health Systems
, Utica plans to utilize evening and weekend slots at local hospitals for the clinical experience component, allowing the daytime slots to be available for other programs.
The college is repurposing 8,000 square feet of space at 9400 4th St. North in St. Petersburg to include a lab, classroom, student lounge and faculty and administrative offices.
A number of new positions will be created as a result of the program, including full-time faculty, student success coaches and administrative positions such as the director of academic services who will oversee both teaching and academic domains.
The first class begins in August, with an expected enrollment of 16.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Dale Scalise-Smith, Utica College