April 16, 2024
Ramping Up

Photo: Indian River State College

An 11-bed simulated hospital is the centerpiece of Indian River State College's renovated nursing school.

Economic Backbone: Nursing

Ramping Up

Mike Vogel | 11/30/2023

In August, the first cohort of future nurses at Indian River State College’s expanded School of Nursing in Port St. Lucie took their classroom seats. The college aims to double its number of nursing graduates to address the state’s nursing shortage.

Thanks to $14.2 million from the Legislature, the school renovated two buildings totaling more than 50,521 square feet to boost classroom space. It also created a simulation center: The 11-bed simulated nursing unit exposes students to a range of nursing duties — from ICU to home health along with a surgical suite, pediatrics room, labor and delivery room and other situations.

“Nurses are the backbone of health care,” says Indian River President Timothy Moore. “In December 2021, in response to the critical need for more nurses in Florida, we announced our intent to double the number of graduates from our nursing programs.”

The school’s nursing programs include an associate’s degree in nursing as well as an RN-to-BSN program that's designed for nurses who already have an associate’s degree to complete their bachelor’s degree. The school also has a program for students who want to become licensed practical nurses.

The college’s nursing program started in 1965 with 26 students, and more than 6,000 students have graduated with associate degrees in nursing (ADN). The college hopes to graduate 300 ADNs in 2025-26, up from 150 in a recent year, and 60 licensed practical nursing graduates, up from 31 in a recent year. It then projects gradual increases after that.

Since its inception in 2009, the bachelor’s in nursing program has graduated 995. The number of bachelor’s in nursing graduates should increase as more nurses graduate from the college and enter the workforce, according to the college.

Indian River State College also offers a nursing assistant program, which allows students to sit for state exams to become certified nursing assistants, as well as a home health aide program. — By Mike Vogel

Tags: Healthcare, Feature, Economic Backbone: Nursing

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