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Local university turns its attention to fixing statewide nursing shortage

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

The University of Central Florida is hoping that a new facility at the Lake Nona campus will help solve a statewide nursing shortage. On Tuesday, the university’s board of trustees voted to authorize the use of $29 million dollars from the legislature for this project. 

The Florida Hospital Association estimates that by 2035, the state will face a shortage of more than 59,000 nurses. 

Mary Lou Sole, the dean of UCF’s College of Nursing says the new 90,000 square foot building on the Lake Nona campus will help to address this problem. 

“So we have been turning away qualified applicants. And our goal is to increase the number of candidates that we can take every year, so that we can graduate more. We would like to keep fueling the pipeline.”

Sole, says with this new building, the university will be able to graduate an additional 150 nurses a year.

“We still turn away many, many qualified applicants. People are still attracted to the nursing profession despite the fact of the challenges that they've observed during the COVID pandemic. ”

About 85 percent of UCF nursing grads stay in state to live and work.

The university says it will begin construction during the 2023-2024 school year.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.