MIAMI – A nursing shortage, both nationwide and here in South Florida, is getting to a critical point and is only supposed to get worse.
On Wednesday, a group of South Florida nurses and health systems announced a new advisory council that aims to propose solutions that can help fill the gap.
The Keiser Nursing Advisory Council includes representatives from Keiser University, Mount Sinai Medical Center, state lawmakers and several other stakeholders.
“We hope to accomplish coming up with at least three or four recommendations that are practical in nature, that can be implemented, that can address head-on, different issues and challenges that will help alleviate the nursing shortage,” Belinda Keiser, vice chancellor of Keiser University, said.
Registered nurse and nursing instructor Pauline Louis-Magiste has seen first hand how badly the nursing profession has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Without nurses there’s no hospital,” Louis-Magiste said. “We lost a lot of nurses from the disease itself but also you lose a lot of nurses because they left the bedside, they couldn’t handle it.”
Gino Santorio, the president & CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center agreed, saying the pandemic has exacerbated an already-existing shortage.
“Vacancy rates for nursing (are) double to triple what (they were) pre-pandemic and that’s pretty consistent on a national level,” Santorio said.
Right now, the U.S. is on track for a shortage of 130,000 nurses by 2025 and by 2035, Florida is expected to have 60,000 unfilled nursing positions.
Broward Health hoped to fill hundreds of slots at a job fair on Monday, but the room was mostly empty when Local 10 News was there.
According to the Florida Hospital Association, more than a third of nurses said they are likely to leave the field by the end of 2022 and 70% of hospitals in the state can expect to experience a critical staffing shortage.