Florida May be Short on Nurses by 2035

Ava Stuzin, Multimedia Photo Editor

Florida is facing a nursing crisis that could turn catastrophic. With not enough nurses entering the field of work and too many leaving, the state is estimated to be short by nearly 59,000 nurses in 2035.

The report, commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, projects that by 2035 the state will be short 37,000 nurses needed to care for all civilians. Findings also concluded that if healthcare barriers are lifted, such as expanding Medicaid, the need for nurses would expand by a third, to almost 100,000.

According to Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, a recent FHA study showed an 11 percent vacancy rate for nurses this spring and that one in four nurses left their position last year.

For Florida, this shortage is not uncommon. But if the state continues to grow at its current rate, the nursing field must keep up with it.  The report released Thursday estimated that Florida would need to add 4,000 more nurses to the workforce per year for the next fifteen years in order to achieve sufficient staffing levels by 2035. It also identifies numerous actions that would help improve the situation.

Many of these actions revolve around education. It is necessary to provide existing nurses resources to improve their training and careers. Colleges and universities currently need more help hiring trained faculty to recruit and train the next generation of health care workers.

Programs with low passing rates for nursing license exams are also being researched to evaluate the measures that can be taken to improve the state’s average passing rate, which is below average for the nation.

The Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida also commissioned IHS Markit (Information Handling Services) to conduct a similar projection for physicians. The report should come out later this fall.