Local Nursing Scholarships Strengthen Suncoast Region's Workforce

Local Nursing Scholarships Strengthen Suncoast Region's Workforce

Posted on May 25, 2021 by Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition
On the first day of National Nurses Week, the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) announced the award of 33 scholarships totaling $125,000 to bolster the region's nursing workforce.

The annual scholarships are part of SNAC's multi-pronged action plan to increase the number of local nursing students earning a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and working nurses advancing their education with BSN and graduate degrees.

"As this pandemic has demonstrated, nurses' vigilance and critical thinking skills – from the bedside to the board room – are essential to help navigate today's complex healthcare environment and keep patients happy, healthy, and safe," said Jan Mauck, co-founder of SNAC and former chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

"When we invest in nursing education, we are helping to insure the nursing workforce is better prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow," said Mauck, who has been working with the grassroots coalition of area hospital, community, and academic leaders to help strengthen the nursing workforce in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties for the last eight years.

"Besides direct caregiving," she said, "nurses at all levels are called upon to guide process improvements, innovate during times of crisis, and act as positive change agents in teaching, consulting, research, and administrative roles."

Since it began awarding scholarships in 2016, SNAC has given $539,000 to 139 local nurses and nursing students (including those awarded today) accepted into accredited nursing programs in the Suncoast region. Many past recipients have already graduated with BSN degrees, creating a pipeline of highly prepared nurses opting to live and work on the Suncoast; 13 scholarships have been awarded to nurses pursuing doctoral degrees that will allow them to become professors and expand the capacity of area nursing schools.

In addition to awarding scholarships, SNAC's initiatives also include:
  • Nurse Navigator services
    SNAC employs a Nursing Education Navigator to advise and mentor people interested in a nursing career. From 2015 through 2020, the navigator has counseled over 1,100 students/nurses and referred more than 800 to accredited nursing school programs, with more than 30% choosing to study locally.

  • Nursing Education Programs
    SNAC supports Florida colleges developing and expanding academic programs that provide direct and accelerated pathways for pre-licensure BSN nursing students, including Florida Southwestern State College; Keiser University; State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota; and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

  • Community Support
    Foundations supporting the scholarships and related SNAC initiatives include the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, The Patterson Foundation, Burruss Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, Lela D. Jackson Foundation, Janice S. Kelly Memorial Foundation, Rita B. Lamere Memorial Foundation, and Sarah Greer Mayer Fund of the Community Foundation, Charlotte Community Foundation, and CareerEdge.

About the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition
SNAC is a regional coalition comprised of representatives from health systems, colleges, and universities educating nurses and community members in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. The grassroots group is part of the national movement to develop resources and help implement recommendations from the 2010 Institute of Medicine report: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report recommends increasing the percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to 80 percent, doubling the number of nurses with doctorates in the United States by the year 2020 and beyond, and other actions to improve nurses' ability to positively influence the outcomes of patients in the nation. For more information, call (941) 780-1447 or visit snac4fl.org.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.