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There are more Florida nursing students but fewer qualified applicants, a report shows


The survey of more than 500 programs by the Florida Center for Nursing also finds a decrease in nursing faculty. The reason: Qualified nurses earn more in clinical settings than academic ones.

The number of students enrolling in nursing programs in Florida is increasing. But colleges and universities are reporting a drop in qualified applicants.

That’s one of the findings in a new report from the Florida Center for Nursing. It surveyed more than 500 programs over the past year – most of them in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Rayna Letourneau, the center’s executive director, says Florida needs to start recruiting while students are young.

"Getting access to the students in that elementary-age and middle school-age and introducing them to what nurses are and the value that nurses bring to their communities and to the health care industry is very important,” says Letourneau, an assistant professor with the University of South Florida College of Nursing.

The report also finds a decrease in nursing faculty. Letourneau says that's because qualified nurses earn more in clinical settings than academic ones.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care for the station. Verónica has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master's degree in journalism. For many years, Veronica lived out of a suitcase (or two) in New York City, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, D.C., San Antonio and Austin, where she worked as the statehouse and health care reporter with NPR member station KUT.