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Sarasota Scene Feature: SMH-Venice Chief Nursing Officer Named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition is proud to celebrate the outstanding success of our member Dr. Jean Lucas recently selected as a 2020 Fellow into the The American Academy of Nursing.  Dr. Lucas has provided leadership and expertise to SNAC since its inception 7 years ago. Congratulations to Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Venice Chief Nursing Officer Jean Marie Lucas, PhD, MBA, APRN, NEA-BC.

Venice Chief Nursing Officer Jean Marie Lucas, PhD, MBA, APRN, NEA-BC

Originally Published in Sarasota Scene:

“The American Academy of Nursing recently selected Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Venice Chief Nursing Officer Jean Marie Lucas, PhD, MBA, APRN, NEA-BC, to join its prestigious 2020 Class of Fellows, a group of 230 distinguished nursing leaders from around the nation who have made significant contributions to health care.

The Academy’s Fellows, chosen through a competitive, rigorous application process, are regarded as nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research. Fellows represent association executives; university presidents, chancellors and deans; elected officials; state and federal political appointees; hospital chief executives and vice presidents for nursing; nurse consultants; and researchers and entrepreneurs.

“Their work, across many fields of expertise, exemplifies the power of nursing knowledge in creating meaningful change,” said Academy President Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Lucas was named chief nursing officer of Sarasota Memorial’s new hospital in Venice in 2019.  Now under construction, the facility is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2021. 

Previously, Lucas served as associate chief nursing officer of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s 839-bed flagship hospital in Sarasota. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of many programs to enhance patient care and quality, including a Trauma Center and the launch of disease-specific programs, integrative therapies, telehealth, behavioral health intervention team and other services. Lucas also has played a key role in nursing recruitment, training, research and professional development initiatives at SMH and regionally …” Continue Reading on


SNAC Salutes Nurses

The World Health Organization has dedicated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. In addition, the American Nurses Association has expanded National Nursing Week to the entire month of May this year, as National Nurses Month, to recognize nurses’ invaluable contributions to healthcare.

Please keep our hard- working and dedicated nursing professionals in your thoughts as we transition back to the new normal. It has been a long and challenging ride for them.. and it is not over yet.

– Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition


SNAC Success Story: Lisa Smith’s Journey to Her MSN APN

Lisa’s hair: soon going to Wigs for Kids

“Yes Kate, I do want to complete my BSN, but I want to become a nurse practitioner.” That’s exactly what Lisa Smith said to me back in December 2016. Lisa was then working at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She had experienced a few years of illnesses and was no longer able to continue working in her beloved emergency and intensive care settings. So, Lisa picked herself up and went back to school to complete her Bachelor of Science in nursing at State College of Florida. You can read more about her story at that time on our SNAC website. Modeling a way to success from December of 2016 click here.

Complete her MSN in adult nurse practitioner is exactly what she did. Choosing a school was complex and sometimes frustrating and she finally decided on Kaplan university. Kaplan was subsequently purchased by Purdue and is now Purdue University Global. 

Lisa was full of excitement at her recent graduation when we met for lunch in early October. “I didn’t even dream I could learn so much!” Lisa was truly thankful and in awe of the Physicians and other nurse practitioners who shared their knowledge with her over the last two and a half years. “I really must give compliments and much credit to my advisor Monica Nino, and two inspirational professors, Racelia Austin, and Susan Brennan who helped me throughout the program. “

Finding clinical placements for preceptorships can be a difficult task and Lisa provides the advice that you need to” go and meet them face to face; it makes a huge difference’. Commuting to Kendall Medical Center in Miami for women’s health and later to a family practice in Daytona gave her the hours and experience she required. “The courses and clinical were rigorous and the commitment needed is substantive, but I’m so glad I did it!” Lisa was also the main impetus for Purdue University Global to create a policy that Purdue will now actively help students obtain clinical preceptorships. A major investment for the University and a major help for all future students who will benefit from Lisa’s journey.

Right now, Lisa has 2 goals 1) studying for national certification for advance practice nurse examination which she plans to seek and the next couple of months. And 2) “I haven’t cut my hair since I began graduate school and I plan to cut it as a donation for children to an organization who does not charge for their services in providing wigs to children in need. The organization Wigs for Kids, donates their time and services specifically for children. I enjoy giving back and strive to continue efforts through pay it forward actions.” Lisa continues to volunteer part-time in the Englewood Community Clinic and provides modeling services for bridal gowns, just like she was doing back in 2016. The picture with this article was taken for the Charlotte County Bridal Expo in September 2019. That beautiful long hair will soon become a wig for a child.

After that? “I want to do my DNP!” She is currently looking at Doctoral programs and right now South University is intriguing. Time will tell which University she chooses but I do not doubt that she will achieve success. This is one solidly determined woman.

Congratulations Lisa Smith. We at the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition could not be prouder of you.


SNAC Nursing Faculty Scholarship Spotlight: Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen, RN, ARNP, Nursing faculty at Keiser University

Susan Cohen, RN, ARNP, Nursing faculty at Keiser University as she supervises Physical Assessment skills lab with 2 Keiser students. SNAC awarded a Nursing faculty scholarship to Susan in 2017.  She will become Dr. Susan Cohen DNP, RN when she graduates with her Doctorate in Nursing from Keiser University this month.  SNAC has earmarked seven scholarships since 2016 to nurses pursuing doctoral degrees to help provide more nursing professors which are needed to expand the capacity of local nursing schools.  


SNAC Nursing Faculty Scholarship helps Terry Doire become DNP

Terry Doire DNP, RN: Getting ready for Graduation at Nova Southeastern University

Ms. Terry Doire received a 2017 SNAC Nursing Faculty Doctoral Scholarship and has now completed her Doctoral work at NSU. Dr. Doire serves as Nursing faculty at Keiser University in Sarasota, Florida. Be sure to read about her journey of 40 years in Nursing and the inspirations that guided her SNAC Success Story.     


Local Scholarships Strengthen Nursing Workforce

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2019) – The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) awarded 14 scholarships totaling $50,000 this month in a continuing effort to strengthen the region’s nursing workforce.

The annual scholarships are part of SNAC’s multi-pronged action plan to develop a pipeline of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and ensure continued access to safe, high-quality care on the Suncoast. 

A retired nurse executive and former chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, SNAC co-chair Jan Mauck said nurses’ vigilance and critical thinking skills at the bedside keep patients safe. Additionally, nurses must be prepared to address a wide range of healthcare issues, including the ability to address quality, cost, and accessibility of health care services.

“When we invest in and encourage nurses to obtain their bachelor’s degrees, we are helping to insure the nursing workforce is better prepared for the challenges ahead,” said Mauck, who leads the grassroots coalition of hospital, community and academic leaders addressing the nursing shortage in the four-county Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Desoto region. 

With a rapidly expanding older population, rising incidence of chronic disease and limited capacity of accredited nursing schools that offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees, Florida faces a critical need in nurses who are capable of a higher level of critical thinking and application. BSN nursing programs help to alleviate the nursing shortage by graduating nurses who are much more likely to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN exam) required for practice. In Florida the NCLEX pass rates are the lowest in the U.S., with the exception of BSN degree programs which are above the national average.

SNAC scholarships are targeted toward local nurses pursuing BSN degrees or higher. Since 2016, SNAC has awarded $264,000 in nursing scholarships to 72 local recipients (including those awarded today). Many have already or are slated to graduate in the next two years with BSN degrees and plan to work in the Suncoast region. Several have started work toward master’s and doctoral degrees as well. Over the years, SNAC has earmarked seven scholarships to nurses pursuing doctoral degrees because more nursing professors are needed to expand the capacity of local nursing schools.  

In addition to awarding scholarships, SNAC’s initiatives also include:

• Nurse Navigator services – SNAC hired a Nursing Education Navigator to advise and mentor people interested in a nursing career. From February 2015 through Aug 2019, the navigator has counseled over 1,100 students/nurses and referred 820 to nursing programs. At least 255 are currently accepted/enrolled or have graduated from an accredited nursing school program. 

• Nursing Education Programs – SNAC is helping hospitals and colleges develop and expand programs that provide direct and accelerated pathways for pre-licensure BSN nursing students. Local partners Florida Southwestern State College, Keiser University, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee all have created new or expanded curriculums and facilities that are allowing more nurses to enroll in four-year BSN programs in their hometowns in the coming year. 

• Community Support – Foundations supporting the scholarships and related SNAC initiatives include the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, 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, Manatee Community Foundation, Charlotte Community Foundation, and CareerEdge.

About the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition: SNAC is a regional coalition made up of representatives from health systems, colleges and universities educating nurses and community members in a four-county region (Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties). The grassroots group is working with the Florida Action Coalition to develop resources and help implement recommendations from 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. Information: (941) 780-1447 or


The 2019 Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program Now Accepting Applications

Now Open! 2019 Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

Apply Here
Accepting applications through March 28th The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program supports registered nurses (RNs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and nurse faculty by paying up to 85 percent of their unpaid nursing education debt.In exchange, participants serve for at least two years at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or, for nurse faculty, at an eligible school of nursing.Before you apply, learn about application details including eligibility and service requirements in the 2019 Application and Program Guidance.

New in 2019! The Nurse Corps anticipates making up to 10 percent of loan repayment awards to psychiatric nurse practitioners, highly skilled specialists who are on the front lines helping combat the nation’s opioid crisis.
Are you eligible?
Eligible applicants include: licensed registered nurses; advanced practice registered nurses, including psychiatric nurse practitioners; or nurse faculty members with qualifying nursing debt.
Applicants must have received nursing education from an accredited school of nursing located in a U.S. state or territory and work full-time in: an eligible Critical Shortage Facility in a high need area (for RNs and APRNs); or an accredited school of nursing (for nurse faculty).
Application Help
Need help with your application? Attend one of our technical assistance calls.Technical Assistance Call #1 
Thursday, March 7, 2019 
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.Technical Assistance Call #2 
Thursday, March 21, 2019 
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.Be on the lookout for dial-in information, as well as, helpful application tips and technical assistance opportunities on our 

Nurse Corps Facebook page!
For additional application questions, call 1-800-221-9393 (TTY: 1-877-897-9910) Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) 8:00 am to 8:00 pm ET.

NEWS RELEASE: SNAC Announces Fall 2016 BSN Scholarship Program

NEWS RELEASE: SNAC Announces Fall 2016 BSN Scholarship Program

The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition announces a Fall 2016 scholarship program for individuals pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. This scholarship provides financial support for current BSN candidates in the SNAC Region (Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, & Desoto Counties). The goal is to increase the number of bachelor’s prepared nurses who are working within the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) region. The amount awarded per person may vary and is at the discretion of the SNAC selection committee. Award amounts will be based on individual need as determined by documented sources of support (e.g. scholarships, grants) with a minimum award amount of $2,500.

The community-funded SNAC scholarships are among many statewide initiatives that followed a landmark Institute of Medicine report published in 2010, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which recommended doubling the number of nurses with doctorates in the United States by the year 2020, and other actions to ensure nurses are well positioned to lead change and advance health. The SNAC BSN Scholarship application, which has an application deadline of October 15, 2016, can be downloaded from the website at

SNAC is a regional pilot project created by the Florida Action Coalition 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).

To help address the needs in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Desoto counties, SNAC offers information, referrals 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