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USF College of Nursing taking steps to address nurse shortage

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 17:56:21-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida College of Nursing is taking a direct approach to tackling a nurse shortage with an effort to expand undergraduate nursing education.

Pyper Vaughn’s passion for helping others led her to become a student at USF’s College of Nursing. The nurse shortage is something she’s seen firsthand.

“As a student who gets to go in and see it in clinical, you are living it every day. I go in, and my nurses have about like six patients that they have to take care of,” said Vaughn.

Now, the school is working to tackle the issue. USF Health said the Governor approved $33 million in the 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.

“The primary component of this renovation is to really transform nursing pedagogy to allow us to introduce a lot more simulation activities, a lot more simulation using a true simulated hospital environment, using artificial intelligence, virtual reality,” said Usha Menon, the Dean of the USF College of Nursing.

USF Health also says the Governor approved $6.9 million in recurring funding for the college to hire faculty and staff who will support the expansion and student success.

It’s all part of an effort to help solve a nurse shortage crisis. Menon explained they’ve had a nursing shortage for many years, and it’s not something new that came on because of the pandemic.

“What we saw with the pandemic was this acute exacerbation, nurses leaving the profession, retiring 10, 15 years sooner than we expected them to,” said Menon. “We saw young nurses going into positions, and within 90 days to six months, deciding that this is not what they wanted to do.”

By 2028, the USF Health College of Nursing will graduate over 750 undergraduate nurses each year, a roughly 200 percent increase over the five-year period.

For those on the fence to get into the field, Vaughn encourages them to go for it.

“You can find something that you love,” said Vaughn. “I think it’s just so awesome there’s so many different opportunities.”