The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) awarded 17 nursing scholarships today to help address a shortage of bachelor-prepared nurses (BSN) and doctoral-prepared nursing instructors in the Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee and Desoto counties region.
Even though decades of research validates the link between BSN-prepared nurses and better patient outcomes and care, roughly half of all nurses graduating today are bypassing standard bachelor’s degrees and becoming licensed RNs through faster, more accessible associate degree programs to meet the needs of today’s employer needs.
“As point-of-care providers, nurses play important prevention and intervention roles across all hospital and healthcare settings – inpatient, outpatient and home health care,” said Jan Mauck, co-chair of SNAC and former Chief Nursing Officer at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. “More nurses with bachelor’s degrees are needed at the bedside, while those with doctorates are needed in faculty and leadership roles to ensure optimal patient care.”
Many nurses complete an associate’s degree and become licensed as a registered nurse (RN) with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree later. One of the primary barriers they find in this region, however, is a shortage of BSN training programs and qualified faculty, Mauck said.
The SNAC scholarships are designed to counter the shortage of BSN nurses and BSN training programs by supporting nurses pursuing BSN degrees and working in this region and by defraying the cost of doctoral degrees for nurses who want to teach, and therefore help expand the number of BSN programs in the region.
“Investing in BSN and post-graduate nursing education is one of the best things a community can do to fill those critical roles,” Mauck said. “We are fortunate to have a community willing to support our scholarship program and work with us to ensure a highly prepared nursing workforce.”
Since it began its scholarship program in 2016, SNAC has granted 32 BSN scholarships and four doctoral nursing scholarships to local nurses and educators (including the 17 awarded today), totaling $140,000. Most of the recipients are slated to graduate with their bachelor’s and doctorate degrees within two years (list of grant recipients attached). 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.
The community-funded SNAC scholarships are among many local, state and national initiatives responding to the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which recommended increasing the percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to 80 percent and doubling the number of nurses with doctorates in the United States by the year 2020, and other actions to improve nurses’ ability to positively influence the outcomes of patients in the nation.
To help address the needs in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Desoto counties, SNAC offers information, referrals, scholarships and support to individuals interested in a nursing career or current nurses who want to enroll in advanced degree programs. To reach SNAC’s nurse navigator, call (941) 780-1447 or email firstname.lastname@example.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 4-county region (Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte). Information: snac4fl.org