Published Oct 9, 2001
Tuesday, October 9, 2001
Bush: Nurse shortage a priority
TALLAHASSEE - Florida needs more nurses - and a lot of them, Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday, urging health care leaders to figure out how to attract more people to the profession and promising his support.
"There are a significant percentage of nurses that are over the age of 50," Bush told reporters. He had just spoke at a meeting on the state's nursing shortage sponsored by the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Nurses Association.
And there aren't enough people joining the nursing profession to fill their shoes, Bush said.
"So we have to accelerate that. We have to do it. It's not a question of whether we have the resources, we just have to put it as a higher priority," he said.
The statistics cited by the governor illustrate the gap:
By 2010, four of every 10 registered nurses in the state will be over the age of 50. But in the 15 years between 1983 and 1998, the number of working registered nurses younger than 30 dropped 44 percent.
The rates of nursing vacancy rates in Florida hospitals are on the rise, climbing from a low of 6 percent in 1995 to 11 percent in 2000 and nearly 16 percent this year. That means about 9,000 positions are unfilled.
By 2006, Florida is projected to need 34,000 additional registered nurses.
Bush said some things can be done without a lot of money - but that despite the tight budget conditions money might still be found for recruitment and retention programs.
A 2001 law expanded a loan-forgiveness program for nursing students and created the Florida Center for Nursing to collect data on the nursing force.
Enrollment in nursing schools is down 20 percent in the last five years - but there still is not enough space in nursing programs in Florida.
Barbara Lumpkin, associate executive director of the Florida Nurses Association, said the profession would ask lawmakers next year to give the Board of Nursing more flexibility to streamline nursing procedures and to reduce tuition for out-of-state students who want to earn master's degrees in nursing.
Lumpkin also suggested the state might want to consider creation of a civil reserve corps of nurses and other health care workers to be called on in the wake of disasters, pointing to both the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and the needs created by a storm like Hurricane Andrew.
Hi. From all indications, nursing shortages seem to be a problem everywhere. Not only is there a shortage problem here in the states, there is a world wide nursing shortage.
As far as the USA is concerned the governors of each state not only need to give the boards of nursing more authority, but nursing education needs to be overhauled, in my opinion. Many nursing schools are still basing their education on the traditional medical model which does not do a good job addressing changes in demographics and life in general. Like the nursing population, the general population is aging, rapidly it seems. There needs to be dramatically increased focus on geriatrics, long term care, home and community health, prevention, and alternative treatment models.
Members on the various boards of nursing need to be closely in tune with the general population as well as trench nurses in order to use their authority the most effectively and effficiently.
As a nursing student, I can attest to the fact that at least in my school, the focus is not purely medical, but now nursing is being taught from a more "holistic" approach.
Gone are the days where the concept of wellness was limited to going from an area of illness or injury into an area of simply non-illness.
Today, we are focusing on the whole person, physicologically, psychologically, spiritually, and culturally.
There should, I agree, be a more extensive period of time spent on the geriatric patient, long-term care, and the other things you metioned.
Mind you, I am only in my first semester in an ADN program, and I'm not certain where the focus will be in upcoming semesters, but I know we are getting our basics now, and in my program at least, we are spending quite a bit of time in these areas.
Thanks for responding!! :D
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