The USF Health College of Nursing is expanding the number of baccalaureate students in the accelerated nursing pathway at the Sarasota-Manatee and St. Petersburg campuses. This increase will help meet community needs and alleviate the critical nursing shortage.
The accelerated nursing pathway in St. Petersburg welcomed its first cohort in Fall 2019 and the Sarasota-Manatee campus welcomed its inaugural class in Spring 2020. USF’s Accelerated Second Degree pathway is intended for students who already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The student can complete the program in four semesters (16 months). Since the pathway’s inception, there has been rising need among community partners for additional nurses.
The national nursing shortage has been a concern for several years, but that shortage has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 1.1 million new nurses are needed by 2022.
As a result, college leadership decided to double the Sarasota-Manatee cohort to 80 students and increase the St. Petersburg cohort from 30 to 50 students.
“We are proactively working to address the growing need for additional nurses in Florida,” said Usha Menon, dean of the College of Nursing and senior associate vice president of USF Health. “Many of our students remain local post-graduation. The increase in graduating nurses will have a direct impact on our very own nursing community.”
“The expansion of our USF Health College of Nursing enrollment will have a lasting impact in Florida and across the nation in addressing the looming nursing shortage, with a greater number of highly-trained, compassionate nurses delivering excellent care to their communities,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
“We are very pleased to expand our nursing program on the Sarasota-Manatee campus to help our community and the State of Florida address the critical need for highly skilled nurses,” said Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor of the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “It’s exciting to see the program expand from an initial cohort of 30 students in the first graduating class on our campus to our current cohort of 40 students, then 80 students in 2022.”
The expanded cohorts are expected to launch in Fall 2021 in St. Petersburg and in Spring 2022 for Sarasota-Manatee.
This expansion is part of a strategic initiative the College of Nursing has undertaken to streamline the undergraduate program to have a greater impact on reversing local and national nursing shortage trends. Recently, the College announced that it would be phasing out its online RN (registered nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) pathway.