Posted on Jun 7, 2022

Gov. DeSantis approves $40 million for USF Health Nursing expansion to solve the nursing shortage crisis with new budget

Gov. DeSantis approves $40 million for USF Health Nursing expansion to solve the nursing shortage crisis with new budget

TAMPA, Fla. (June 7, 2022) – The University of South Florida College of Nursing, with the support of the Florida State Legislature, is confronting the nursing shortage crisis head-on with an all-out effort to expand undergraduate nursing education.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved $33 million in FY 2022-23 budget for the USF Health College of Nursing to expand its infrastructure and current footprint on USF’s Tampa campus with enhanced simulation training space. In addition, Gov. DeSantis approved $6.9 million in recurring funding for the college to hire faculty and staff who will support the expansion and student success.

By 2028, the USF Health College of Nursing will graduate over 750 undergraduate nurses each year, a roughly 200% increase over the five-year period. Through extensive partnerships with local and regional hospitals and health care systems, the college ​can provide practice-based training and confidently route new graduates to employment, fulfilling the critical need for nurses ​in Florida.

“This historic investment in the future of nursing lays the foundation for a transformative shift in how we deliver undergraduate nursing education,” said Usha Menon, dean of the USF Health College of Nursing, senior associate vice president of USF Health, and Distinguished University Health Professor. “It is critical that Florida faces the nursing shortage head-on and early. Our impact, fueled by the shared and collective ambition of USF leadership, the college of nursing, industry and policy-makers, will be phenomenal.”

The legislative funding for the USF Health College of Nursing was part of a historically successful legislative session for USF that includes funding for numerous other initiatives to advance the university’s strategic goals.

The college’s ​unparalleled clinical and community partnerships allow for a seamless transition from academia to clinical practice through career development, externship, and extracurricular employment opportunities across the undergraduate nursing experience.

“​I am so grateful for the support of Governor (Ron) DeSantis and commitment of Senate President (Wilton) Simpson and Speaker of the House (Chris) Sprowls to investing in Tampa Bay,” Menon said. “By giving us the opportunity to increase nursing graduates they have invested in the health and, indeed, the lives of Tampa Bay residents.”

​In addition to the undergraduate expansion, the Florida Center for Nursing (FCN) will now be housed at USF Health College of Nursing, under the direction of Interim Executive Director Rayna Letourneau, PhD, RN. FCN will allow Florida to monitor supply and demand in the nursing workforce, a critical element of understanding and dealing with the nursing shortage. The College of Nursing’s commitment to its research agenda and understanding of current and future issues in the nursing profession will inform policies to address the supply and demand of Florida’s nursing workforce through the work of the FCN.