University of South Florida

USF Health expands nursing program to Sarasota-Manatee campus

Generous scholarships available to exceptional students

 SARASOTA, Fla. (April 26, 2018) — The USF Health College of Nursing is partnering with the College of Science and Mathematics at USF Sarasota-Manatee to offer a new nursing program at the Sarasota-Manatee campus beginning in fall 2018.

“We are very pleased to partner with USF Health to offer a new nursing program here at USF Sarasota-Manatee,” said Dr. Karen Holbrook, USFSM regional chancellor. “It has been a priority in our community to meet a critical need for well-trained, highly-skilled nurses. Our regional health care providers have been asking us to help address this need.”

The new program will be rolled out in two phases. USFSM will initially offer a pre-nursing curriculum during the first two years of the program, leading to an associate of arts certificate.  Following the establishment of an upper division baccalaureate program major in nursing at the USFSM campus, targeted to launch in the fall 2020, participants in the pre-nursing program will have the opportunity to be interviewed for admission to the nursing major and complete baccalaureate program requirements either at USFSM or USF Health.

Students who meet general USFSM freshmen admissions criteria are eligible to join the first cohort of students this fall, and those who have an exceptional high school academic record may apply to receive a scholarship of up to $2,500 each year, or up to $10,000 over a four-year period.

The demand for nurses in the Sarasota region has been well documented:

Karen Holbrook, PhD

  • According to the 2018 Regional Job Market Assessment, the health care and social assistance industry accounted for the greatest demand for jobs in Sarasota in the past 12 months, accounting for one third (33 percent) of vacant positions.
  • The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) reports that just 31 percent of nurses in the four-county region have BSNs; the goal is to increase that figure to 80 percent.
  • Sarasota Magazine reported recently in an article, titled “What does the future hold for Sarasota,” that the nursing profession in Sarasota-Manatee will play a strategic role in meeting the health demands of a growing and aging population, as well as public health needs. During the next 30 years, the fastest growing demographic in Sarasota County will be people 80 and older; their numbers will double and one in five residents will be 80 or older.

The partnership between the USF Health College of Nursing and USFSM embodies how USF System resources can best be used to offer academic programs that create enhanced opportunities for the entire Tampa Bay region.

“The USF Health College of Nursing is a leader in preparing 21st century nurses to promote health and wellness in our community and around the world,” said Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the USF Health College of Nursing. “USF Health offers excellent and innovative nursing education programs, and our College of Nursing ranks first in the state for research funding by the National Institutes of Health. Many of our outstanding graduates remain in Florida, including Sarasota-Manatee communities, to pursue their careers.”

Victoria Rich, PhD

“It is exciting to collaborate with the USF Health College of Nursing to expand opportunities for students to ultimately obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus,” said Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of the USFSM College of Science and Mathematics.  “Our community has been asking for this, and I am thankful that our regional chancellor, Dr. Holbrook, and nursing dean, Dr. Rich, supported the development of a pathway to make this happen.”

USFSM will develop a basic clinical skills laboratory on campus this summer, and students also will receive clinical training through the Sarasota Memorial Health Care system’s network of facilities and at Manatee Memorial Hospital.   New faculty will be recruited during the next 12 to 18 months to teach upper level courses as well.

“This is a perfect example of the benefits of reunification, and how we can meet the needs of our students and the community,” Holbrook added. “We are very appreciative of the generous donors who helped make the scholarships possible, and we look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in the fall.”

To apply for the new nursing program at USF Sarasota-Manatee and be considered for scholarships, please visit, or call 941-359-4331.  Be sure to designate “pre-nursing” in the application.

Story by Shawn Ahearn, USFSM Communications & Marketing

Dr. Karen Holbrook (left), regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee and Melanie Michael, vice dean of academic programs at USF Health College of Nursing, at the signing ceremony for  the new nursing program at the Sarasota-Manatee campus beginning fall 2018. — Photo by Krista Lee, USFSM Communications & Marketing

From left: Dr. Holbrook, Dr. Michael, and Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of the USFSM College of Science & Mathematics — Photo by Krista Lee, USFSM Communications & Marketing

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