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HCA is donating $1.5 million to boost Florida International's nurse educator program

fiu nursing school.jpg
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 80,000 qualified applicants because of an insufficient number of faculty to teach them. A new partnership aims to help.

There's another staffing shortage impacting the nursing profession: nurse educators to teach the next generation.

U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 80,000 qualified baccalaureate and graduate nursing applicants because of an insufficient number of faculty to teach them, according to a 2019 study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Florida International University in Miami is trying to tackle this issue with help from a partnership with HCA Healthcare.

On Tuesday, the health system announced it will donate $1.5 million to FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences to expand faculty and offer scholarships to increase enrollment.

“One of the key factors is that nurses who have master's degrees and above can make much more money if they work in hospitals and clinical settings than nurses who are educators," saidOra Strickland, dean of FIU's Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. "Just based on salary, many nurses would prefer to stay in clinical settings."

Florida is projected to have a shortage of nearly 60,000 nurses by the year 2035. Reasons include population growth, retirements and the COVID pandemic.

“[They’ve] basically given us a gift of $1.5 million to help us address the nurse educator shortage. Because without adequate nursing professors, we cannot address the nursing shortage,” said. Strickland said in an interview with WLRN’s SunDial. “They're going to give us funding for faculty to teach nurse educators.”

FIU is a designated Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution with a student body that is 61 percent Hispanic. The university says it will recruit from South Florida’s culturally diverse pool of nurses to prepare them as master’s-level nurse educators.

The FIU partnership is part of HCA Healthcare’s $10 million commitment over the past three years to Hispanic serving institutions and historically Black colleges and universities to advance health care diversity.

Click on the Listen button above to hear the entire interview with Strickland.

Leslie Ovalle produces the morning newscasts that air during Morning Edition. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling. Her interests include immigration, technology and the environment.
Caitie Muñoz