FLA: Jeb Bush signsNursing shortge Solution Act: $4,000 loan repayment...

  1. Gov. Jeb Bush signed a Florida bill that will encourage nurses to stick with the profession and will attract nursing candidates from other states. Florida's nurses have declined in number by 10% over the last six years.

    By GRAHAM BRINK, Times Staff Writer
    St. Petersburg Times
    published May 29, 2002

    TAMPA -- Gov. Jeb Bush said at a ceremonial bill signing Tuesday that the state has taken a positive step toward remedying a serious nursing shortage.

    A new set of laws will encourage Florida nurses to stick with the profession and will attract candidates from other states and territories to come to "paradise," Bush said.

    The laws also provide money to help better educate younger generations about a career in nursing.

    "Nurses put a sense of humanity in a thing that desperately needs humanity," Bush told a group of nurses, hospital staff and elected officials who gathered at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center.

    In the last six years, Florida's supply of registered nurses has declined 10 percent to about 170,000, according to the Florida Hospital Association. About 9,000 jobs are open right now.

    The nursing population also is aging, which means the state will need 34,000 new nurses by 2006 to keep up with retirements and the growing health care needs of Floridians, the association estimated.

    The new laws, dubbed the Nursing Shortage Solution Act, allow the Florida Department of Health to make loan repayments of up to $4,000 annually for four years for graduates of accredited nursing schools who work as a nurse in the state.

    The act also makes it easier for nurses from other states and territories, including Puerto Rico, to obtain a Florida license. Although it is not clear how many nurses the streamlined procedures will attract, supporters of the new laws, including state Rep. Sandra Murman, R-Tampa, believe Spanish-speaking nurses in particular would come here.

    Eligible candidates will have to pass criminal and professional background checks.

    The act also provides grants to middle and high schools to set up nursing-related classes. The money can be used for equipment, supplies, personnel and student services, among other things.

    Bush promised to keep looking for ways to reduce the nursing shortage. He said the new laws were only a step toward solving a difficult health care issue.

    "We'll get the cure for the common cold done afterwards," Bush said, as he and the audience laughed.

    -- Graham Brink can be reached at (813) 226-3365 or brink@sptimes.com.
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  3. by   caroladybelle
    As someone who came to Georgia from Florida, it will take a H@#l of a lot more to get me to go back. Florida as a paradise - what a @#$$% joke.

    The infrastructure is so horrifically overbuilt - it is unreal. As there is no state income tax, everything is paid for by property taxes. There are few restrictions to new building - even though there are not enough roads for it, not enough water for it, not enough schools, even though it is destroying the natural resources. The retirees don't want to allocate money to improve the schools (which are pathetic), because "after all they already paid for educating their kids up North". There are water shortages everywhere - but you pass miles and miles of subdivisions of little identical houses six feet apart, each with their own swimming pool.

    Nurses have lousy working conditions and low pay rates. In 1995, I was a GN and worked w/one other RN, one LPN and a couple of techs (if we were lucky, maybe one or two could chart, after we did the opening assessment) for a 41 bed unit. I was paid 12.50/hr plus shift. A year later, after precepting a GN, and taking charge about 1/2 the time, my pay rate went to 13.25. This was in a >500 bed hospital. I had friends that took jobs in Nursing homes that started at less than 10.00/hr. You get low censused alot for 7 monthes a year, and worked like a dog the other 5.

    And lets not forget the fabulous Florida Board. You call them and it will take several phone calls and a couple hours on long distance charges to get anything done. It takes monthes longer to a licensure by endorsement than almost any other state and costs much, much more. I applied for my Georgia license and within 10 days, could have had it granted EXCEPT Florida took 4 monthes (and numerous phone calls) to get my Florida board results released.

    Brother Jeb is going to have to work oh so much harder to get this nurse to move back permanently!!!!!!
  4. by   teamrn
    "Nurses put a sense of humanity in a thing that desperately needs humanity,". This was said by Jeb Bush at the same time.

    Well, its nice that $4000 for loan repayment is being made possible, but if you're 35+, most likely that loan is repaid, and even then, its likely to be a heck of a lot more than $4K.

    I've noticed that MOST legislators who address the nursing shortage have as their media solution to throw money at the problem in terms of loan repayment. Well, we need HARDER solutions which may require their time and committment, think tanks, budget rearrangments, less (and here's a really tough one) 'cowtowing' to Political Action Committe, etc; but just LISTENING to staff nurses is a start.
  5. by   oramar
    I saw a Dean of Nursing for a nursing school with long history on TV. I think it was called St Luke's. I swear I heard her say her tuition is 20grand a year. They just recently became a 4 year degree program, they had been diploma. I sure a $4000 dollar loan repayment will go far to cover $80,000 in tuition expenses. Of course $4000 would be big help to comunity college SN.