Keiser nursing council seeks legislative action – Miami Today

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The Keiser Nursing Advisory Council, formed in July with a group of healthcare leaders and elected officials to work collectively to advocate and find solutions for the issues the nursing workforce is facing, has gained new members and aims to bring items to the Florida legislature in March.
Keiser University announced July 13 the creation of a nursing advisory council, now divided into three subcommittees, to help promote solutions for hospitals and universities to the challenges they face due to the projected nursing shortage looming for upcoming years.
According to a 2021 report by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, by next year the Florida nursing workforce projects a 91% supply adequacy, with a demand of 268,355 registered nurses and a supply of only 243,546. By 2035, the report said, supply adequacy is to be at 88%, with a demand for 322,928 registered nurses and a supply of 285,542, Miami Today reported in July.
The first subcommittee focuses on practical approaches to improve entry into nursing programs and retain nursing graduates in Florida, with scholarships or grant incentives and other nursing education funding opportunities, such as loan forgiveness, state funding, hiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) opportunities. It also works to develop best practices to improve workplace culture for nurses, according to a university spokesperson. That subcommittee is co-chaired by Amanda Murphy, assistant vice president for nursing education at Baptist Health South Florida.
Other members include Dr. Nashat Abualhaja, director of Nursing at Hodges University; Bob Boyd, president and CEO of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF); Kate Filipiak and Dr. Adriana Nava from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association; Dr. Tony Umadhay, dean and professor at Barry University’s School of Nursing; and Javier Araque, Keiser Alumni.
The second subcommittee, aiming to improve and expand nursing school training capacity, is co-chaired by Yudi Romero, recruiter and human resources leader from HCA Healthcare, and Dr. Christine Mueller, chief nursing administrator from Keiser University. Other members include Nelson Hurtado, president of ANP Health Services; Dr. Deb Peterson, chair of the Nursing Department at Saint Leo University; Florida Sen. Dennis Baxley; Dr. Cindy Munro, dean and professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies of the University of Miami; and Dr. Debra Toney, president of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations.
Finally, the third subcommittee, called External Impacts, “is a little bit of a catch-all,” said Gino Santorio, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center, who co-chairs it along with Dr. Phyllis King, dean and professor of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The subcommittee focuses on the nursing profession competitive environment, travel nurses, childcare and other issues. Dr. Marcella Rutherford, dean of the College of Nursing at Nova Southeastern University; Dr. Hank Drummond, senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Cross Country Healthcare; Dr. Cindy Parsons, associate professor of nursing and DNP program director at University of Tampa; Florida Rep. Marie Woodson; and Dr. Jackie Porth from the Office of the Chancellor Liaison for Nursing at Keiser University.
“We’re looking at potentially one legislative item that could [facilitate] certificates in the state, and also credentials and portability from other states,” said Mr. Santorio. “If we move in that direction, it’s nice to have legislators as part of the taskforce, because they can opine on what they think could get some traction, what might not.”
The biggest piece looked at right now, he said, is using covid emergency funds for a one-time retention bonus for nurses. The American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state and local governments, according to the US Department of Treasury.
“What that could do is slow down the turnover [experienced] from one hospital to the neighboring hospital,” said Mr. Santorio. “This would stabilize things a bit.”
Another item discussed locally, he added, is for hospitals to strengthen their partnerships with nursing schools, “both from the education component of providing educators, as well as scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs for our current staff,” so registered nurses could become nurse practitioners, for example.
Local high schools and middle schools are also pivotal to develop and build a sustainable pipeline of “capable, confident healthcare workers,” said Amanda Murphy, assistant vice president for Nursing Education at Baptist Health South Florida. “There are a lot of initiatives surrounding our academic partners.”
The subcommittees meet virtually every second week, said Ms. Murphy, “so that we can continue those conversations with the co-chairs meeting more frequently.” And then, the full committee – the Nursing Advisory Council, run by Belinda Keiser, vice chancellor of Keiser University’s Community Relations and Student Advancement – meets at least monthly. On Oct. 20, the task force hosted its second full council meeting.
The goal short-term, said Mr. Santorio, would be any stabilizing efforts that could come out of the Florida legislative session from March 7 through May 5. “The short-term win would be identifying what those [items] are, and coming up with a sponsor,” he said. “That is a time constrain that we’re subject to.”
“As we formulate and present these ideas and start to get the support and understanding that we need,” said Ms. Murphy, “we’re really going to have a strong force to work forward for the state of Florida and our nursing population.”
Ray Reply
October 27, 2022 at 12:16 pm
Peak capitalism. All those committees searching for answers. But not a single mention of more PTO or increased pay for nurses. The ONLY two things that fundamentally matter.
The title is neutral.
But truly you could of just titled it “Keiser Healthcare not able to find enough nurses at the low price they want to pay.”
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