There has never been a more exciting time for nursing! The Institute of Medicine released a report on The Future of Nursing (2010) making recommendations that will guide our profession through many changes. Those affecting healthcare in the region include the recommendation to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50 to 80 percent by 2020. This shift is especially critical in a state like Florida with only 33.5%, and the northwest region with 28.1% BSN prepared nurses (Florida Center for Nursing, 2012). Recommendations also include establishment of nurse residency programs, preparation of nurses to lead change to advance health by assuming leadership positions, and the need to double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020.
The UWF Department of Nursing is positioned to address these recommendations, offering an undergraduate program with both traditional nursing pre-licensure and RN to BSN bridge tracks. The number of baccalaureate students entering the pre-licensure program has increased to 50 and the RN-BSN track currently boasts >100 students. Plans include adding an accelerated second degree track for adults who have a baccalaureate in another field and are making a mid-career change to nursing. An RN-BSN/MSN option is under consideration to allow qualified registered nurses a seamless transition to graduate education. Current MSN offerings are designed to prepare nurses to lead change and advance health by assuming leadership positions. Additionally, a DNP partnership is currently being developed.
Our strategic directions align with those of the university. As the Department of Nursing embarks on its robust strategic plan to transform nursing education and establish our reputation as the premier nursing school in the Florida panhandle, we are reminded that we must be true to our vision for nursing: a vision to bring excellence in evidence-based nursing education to students at all levels, and ultimately to enrich people's lives through the improvement of health and healthcare.
Professional nursing continues to be a rewarding lifetime career with many opportunities for advancement. As the challenges and demands in health care intensify, the demand for a highly educated nursing workforce increases. UWF is an outstanding choice for pursuing your nursing education as it is comprised of a team of dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring faculty who are excited to teach students through all levels of their education, engaged with its community in using the latest research and evidence to promote health and provide high quality care for patients and their families, committed to improving the quality of student's learning experiences through strong clinical partnerships and expand the use of simulation to foster patient safety, and sustained by a regional comprehensive university campus with rich academic, health, cultural, athletic, and recreational resources.
When making your career decisions: Think UWF!
Ermalynn M. Kiehl, PhD, ARNP, CNS
Chair and Associate Professor