More highly trained, qualified nurses will join the Central Florida workforce by 2020 as a result of today's State Board of Education approval of Seminole State College of Florida's proposal for a new Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN). The College will enroll its first BSN class in the spring of 2018.
The new BSN program will complement Seminole State's top-rated Associate in Science degree in Nursing (ASN) and provide graduates with high-growth, high-paying jobs. The College's nursing program has been ranked as one of the best in the nation by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The ranking is based on the passage rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the April - September 2016 time period. Graduates of Seminole State College of Florida's ASN program consistently excel in pass rates on their licensure exams, and 98 percent are placed into jobs upon graduation.
"Seminole State's Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing will complement our Associate in Science degree in Nursing and enable us to help provide the estimated 1,000 new nurses needed each year in Central Florida over the next decade," said Seminole State College President Dr. E. Ann McGee. "Our role in the local community is to help our industries meet their hiring goals, and we have been working closely with the University of Central Florida and sister colleges to address the area's shortage of registered nurses, particularly those with bachelor's degrees. We're thrilled by today's approval by the State Board of Education."
Formed in June of 2016, a regional consortium consisting of executive leadership from healthcare organizations, CareerSource, and representatives from three regional state colleges (Lake-Sumter, Seminole State and Valencia) and UCF gathered to study the issue. The consortium confirmed that based on planned growth and expansions in the region and impending retirements, the shortages of registered nurses will soon reach critical levels. It is estimated that without accounting for retirements, there is a need for an additional 4,600 new registered nursing jobs, and there will be close to 8,400 openings in the region by 2023.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there are a number of contributing factors impacting the nursing shortage, among them: nursing school enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the projected demand for nursing services; a significant segment of the nursing workforce is nearing retirement age; and changing demographics signal a need for more nurses to care for our aging population.
Nursing is one of the principal programs at Seminole State's expanding Altamonte Springs Campus, where students have access to state-of-the-art healthcare labs, high-tech patient simulation and clinical experiences. Plans are underway for an expanded health science and education facility at the campus, which will accommodate the existing and anticipated growth of the College's nursing program. Nursing also complements Seminole State's allied health programs, including its bachelor's degree in health sciences, physical and respiratory therapy, pharmacy and paramedic programs.
"At Seminole State, students will soon have a flexible and affordable option to seamlessly transition from an Associate to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, trained by our excellent, caring faculty members committed to their success," added Dr. Cheryl Cicotti, dean of nursing for Seminole State. "Students need flexible options if they are interested in becoming a nurse. Ninety percent of Seminole State's BSN program will be offered online, enabling students to continue working while pursuing their baccalaureate degree."
The nursing program's small faculty-to-student ratios, affordability and availability of financial aid offer additional benefits to students. Michael Lindvig, who is in his last nursing course, the clinical practicum, and will complete his RN degree this month at Seminole State, agrees: "I found the program to be more affordable than most online or in-person classes. The professors at Seminole State were really open and willing to come to our study groups to explain difficult concepts. I could always email professors, and they were very accessible and supportive. While it was challenging to go through the program while juggling marriage, buying a house and working full time, I was able to succeed because my professors worked with me and were very accommodating. I love the program." Lindvig plans to enroll in the College's new BSN program, then earn a master's degree to become a nurse practitioner, following his twin passions for pediatrics, cardiology, or a mixture of both.
Learn more about Seminole State's new BSN program here.