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Solving for the Nurse Staffing Shortage in Florida

  • Publish Date: Posted 12 months ago
  • Author:by Cathy Vollmer, Conexus Vice President of Operations, RN, BSN, CSP

Florida, like many states across the U.S., is facing a nursing shortage that needs to be addressed urgently. According to a 2021 report released by the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, the state is projected to face a shortage of 59,100 nurses by 2035. To achieve these staffing levels, Florida would need to add 4,000 more nurses to the workforce per year until 2035. This includes a 12% shortfall, down 37,400 in RNs, and a 30% shortfall, down 21,700 in Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN).

Florida Hospital Association’s Workforce Vacancy Turnover Analysis reports that RN turnover rates in Florida hospitals from 1990-2022 is 32%, the highest turnover rate ever seen in the Sunshine State. In the same realm, the RN vacancy rate is 21%, up 10% from 2021, and ranking higher than the national RN vacancy rate of 17%.

The Need for Florida Nurses – By the Numbers

The healthcare professional staffing shortage in Florida is concerning, especially considering the state’s population growth. According to the United States Census Bureau, Florida is the fastest-growing state in America for the first time since 1957. While the state is often known for attracting retirees, more than 700,000 people of all ages moved to Florida between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2022. This spike can be partly attributed to the pandemic, as many companies shifted to a remote workforce, allowing employees the choice to live anywhere. As the population continues to grow, demand for healthcare services will only continue to increase, making it more important than ever to work towards closing the gap on the nursing staffing shortage.

One of the factors contributing to the nursing staffing shortage is the decrease in enrollment in nursing programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that the number of students in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs decreased by 1.4% last year, ending a 20-year period of enrollment growth in programs designed to prepare new registered nurses (RNs). Despite the decrease in enrolled students, nursing schools turned away thousands of qualified applicants last year due largely to a shortage of faculty and clinical training sites.

The spread of COVID-19 has also exacerbated the nursing staffing shortage, with many nursing professionals seeking career changes or experiencing burnout. Research indicates that the ability to deliver necessary care has been impacted by surges in COVID-19 cases.

Addressing the Healthcare Professional Staffing Shortage in Florida

As the need for nurses and other healthcare professionals increase as the population ages and grows, leading to more people seeking medical care, it is critical that hospitals and healthcare organizations implement a plan to solve for the staffing shortage. The plan can include enhancing recruitment efforts, offering incentives to work in Florida, and investing in nursing education programs to increase the number of qualified nurses entering the workforce.

With an exclusive pipeline of thousands of qualified nurses and medical laboratory scientists from 50+ countries, Conexus MedStaff can help meet these needs. When you partner with us, we recruit and place skilled healthcare professionals at your facility and allow you the time to focus on innovation and success. Our comprehensive and dedicated support team handles all immigration paperwork and credentialing, and our award-winning education program, Conexus Academy, ensures that all Conexus healthcare professionals are equipped for success from day one at your facility.

Contact us today to learn how we can partner to help overcome staffing shortages at your facility.