Editor’s Note: The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition works with Kim Savage to support its strategic communications and positions. Kim is Sr. Communications Editor and Public Information Officer for Sarasota Memorial Health Care System.
The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) is offering $50,000 in scholarships to encourage more area nurses and prospective nursing students to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and ensure safe, high-quality nursing care in the Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, and Desoto counties region.
Although decades of research validates the link between BSN-prepared nurses and better patient outcomes, roughly half of all nurses graduating today are becoming licensed RNs through faster, more accessible associate-degree programs to offset a persistent nursing shortage and escalating employer needs.
“It’s a dangerous trend that not only threatens the quality of patient care but also undermines the expertise and leadership potential of the nursing profession itself,” said Jan Mauck, former Chief Nursing Officer at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and co-chair of SNAC.
Mauck said the Suncoast region is particularly challenged by the limited number of pre-licensure BSN programs here; if not proactively addressed, the situation will result in entry-level nurses who lack the additional education, preparation, and critical thinking skills necessary to address today’s complex health care delivery system. As point-of-care providers, she said, nurses constitute the primary surveillance system for early detection of complications and problems in care and are in a pivotal position to initiate actions that minimize adverse outcomes for patients across all hospital and healthcare settings – inpatient, outpatient, and home health care.
“Investing in higher nursing education is one of the best things a community can do to fill those critical roles,” Mauck said. “Fortunately, we live in a community willing to support this scholarship program and help ensure a highly prepared nursing workforce.”
The deadline to apply for the scholarships is March 1, 2018. To be eligible, applicants must live or work at a medical facility within the SNAC region (Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, and Desoto), or be a graduate of a high school from one of those counties. The amounts awarded vary based on individual needs, with a minimum award of $2,500.
SNAC has granted 36 scholarships totaling $140,000 since 2016. Local foundations that have supported SNAC include the Sarah Greer Mayer Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Janice S. Kelly Memorial Foundation, Rita B. Lamere Memorial Foundation and Burrus Foundation.
For information about the scholarships and applications, call SNAC’s nurse navigator at (941) 780-1447, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit its website at snac4fl.org.
About the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition: SNAC is a regional coalition associated with the Florida Action Coalition whose mission is to develop resources and help implement recommendations from the 2010 Institute of Medicine report: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. SNAC is made up of representatives from health systems, colleges and universities, training nurses, and community members in a four-county region encompassing Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties. The Patterson Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County invest in SNAC’s efforts by providing consulting and fiscal sponsorship.