Orlando, Fla. - There is still a big concern about having enough nurses to take care of us in Central Florida. Seminole State and AdventHealth started a new partnership to feed highly trained nurses into hospitals.
The partnership launched this fall. It's designed to benefit students and future patients.
Kelly Andrews is a nursing student in the first cohort. She made the switch to a career in nursing after a family tragedy.
"My grandfather passed away a couple years ago and the quality of care at the end of his life, the care the nurses provided," said Andrews, "I would say in a span of 6 months, I started doing research on programs in the area."
Seminole State and AdventHealth designed the program so seniors are working 12-hour shifts at least once a week alongside nurses. By the end of the semester, theywill have logged more than 100 hours.
This cohort worked with people preparing or recovering from orthopedic surgery - getting the skill set and mindset needed for the field.
"I see that students are more confident and competent," Nancy Gasper, Dean of Nursing Seminole State, "Have an idea of team and less likely to leave the position after a year. Hoping long-term retention and less nursing attrition."
Nursing leaders at the hospital say they're tracking data that shows Florida could be short 60,000 nurses over the next decade.
"Make sure these nurses are prepared because these are going to be our coworkers, partners, and some day take care of us," Shinder Kaur, Director of Nursing Advent Health Winter Park.
Each student -- including Kelly -- was offered a full-time nursing job at the hospital ahead of their December graduation.
It's a small 8 student cohort, but the college and hospital say they're 8 strong candidates to fill the gap.
The school says this is the start of a pipeline to feed more highly skilled nurses into the hospitals. Next semester - they're doubling the program size.