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From BSN to Nurse Practitioner … the journey begins for Kenneth Elliott

Kenneth Elliott RN, BSN

“I really wish more people were aware of the services available through SNAC and other Sarasota resources like the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. These exist to help provide unbiased resources and I am so glad I got connected to them. They gave me so many options to pursue and broaden the scope of my horizons.”

Kenneth Elliott decided to enter nursing after completion of a bachelor of science in biology and extensive education in premed. The accelerated BSN program at Keiser University was a good good fit for this gentleman and he graduated in August 2018. Soon afterwards Kenneth joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg to begin a one-year residency in pediatrics. Kenneth currently works full-time in the NICU and recently contacted SNAC’s Nurse Education Navigator to discuss potential pathways for graduate education. Kenneth had received both SNAC and CFSC scholarships to complete his nursing education.

“Talking to the nurse education navigator was huge for me. She knew what options were available locally and provided personal references to faculty and guidance counselors.  That help gave me a great foundation for consideration and my final decisions. I chose NOVA’s Advance practice mental health track available in Clearwater, Florida. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is perfect for me as it combines the ability to practice addiction and dual recovery therapy and be able to counsel children as well. I am admitted for the spring semester 2021 and expect to graduate in the fall of 2023.  I’m so into this that I have already started studying the textbooks!”

“My goals included being able to go to school locally as I want to continue living in Sarasota and contributing to the community here. I plan to work in hospitals and clinics in Sarasota as a psychiatric nurse and then a nurse practitioner. I see a bright future for Advanced Practice Nurses and certainly the area of mental health practice is one that is growing exponentially. I’m very pleased with the choice of curriculum and the quality of the university.”

“I love the wide diversity of choices available within the nursing profession to expand as our needs and wants change over the years. Being able to practice in a field that is highly respected and provides a valuable service to humanity is an important aspect of the nursing profession. I feel privileged to be able to grow and change.”

Kenneth has decided to just go for it! Taking that big step into graduate school is one that may be right for you too! Contact SNAC’S Nurse Education Navigator today for personalized guidance and assistance:


Scholarships from SNAC Help Strengthen Nursing Workforce

With increased support from area foundations, the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition has announced that it has more than doubled the number of nursing education scholarships it is awarding to local recipients this spring.

SNAC awarded 44 scholarships totaling $110,000 to nursing students and working nurses pursuing Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and three scholarships totaling $48,000 to nurses pursuing doctoral degrees. All of the recipients live or work in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

The annual scholarships are part of SNAC’s multipronged action plan to strengthen the region’s nursing workforce by boosting the number of BSNprepared nurses and the doctorate-level nursing instructors needed to teach them.

“Never in my 45-year nursing career has the value — and vulnerability — of nursing been so clearly brought into focus,” said Jan Mauck, who co-founded and has been leading SNAC’s advocacy efforts since retiring as chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in 2016.

“This pandemic has compelled nurses at all levels to take on new and expanded leadership roles, collaborating in ways they never had to before, as they tried to solve problems you would never expect in our nation’s well-equipped health care system.”

Since 2016, SNAC has awarded $422,000 in nursing scholarships to 119 local recipients (including those awarded this month). The scholarships were created to encourage more nurses to obtain their bachelor’s and higher degrees. A BSN nurse’s education includes an extra year and a half of in-depth training in social sciences, management, research, public and community health, and leadership.

Significant donations from area donors made it possible to more than double the number of scholarships from last year, said Charles Baumann, a retired accountant and longtime community leader who serves as SNAC’s volunteer co-chair and business adviser.

“Helping area nurses obtain advanced degrees not only helps counter the local nursing shortage, it also equips our nurses with the knowledge and expertise to help guide patients and our community through all complex medical situations, not just emergencies like COVID-19,” said Baumann.

SNAC scholarships are administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Manatee Community Foundation. Other supporting foundations include: 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, Charlotte Community Foundation, and CareerEdge. 

Also published on:


COVID-19 & the Year of the Nurse

COVID-19 & the Year of the Nurse

Letter By: Jan Mauck

The theme for this year’s Nurses Week celebrations – Year of the Nurse – was set long before coronavirus upended our world. But given the heroic role nurses have played during this pandemic, the public spotlight could not be more poignant or well deserved. 

Never in my 45-year nursing career has the value – and vulnerability – of nursing been so clearly brought into focus.  

Over the past three months, the world has watched and worried as they bravely confronted COVID-19 head-on. Despite concerns for their own families and personal safety, emergency, intensive care and other specialty nurses have presented a united front, screening patients at front entrances, isolating those with coronavirus symptoms, spending long hours and days confined in protective gear to care for them and protect others from the spread of infection, and finding new ways to comfort and connect families separated from loved ones with life threatening illness.

Meanwhile, the pandemic compelled nurses at all levels to take on new and expanded leadership roles, collaborating in ways they never had to before, as they tried to solve problems you would never expect in our nation’s well-equipped healthcare system.

We have seen nurse educators assume new roles as safety officers, teaching less experienced nurses how to safely don and doff personal protective equipment and addressing countless questions and concerns to public COVID-19 hotlines; nursing leaders overseeing COVID-19 emergency operations and command centers, monitoring dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment and developing strategies to increase ICU and ventilator capacity; employee and public health nurses reviewing test results day and night, notifying care providers and community members of possible exposures and monitoring symptoms and the well being of those in quarantine; research nurses working with physicians and patients enrolled in critical COVID-19 trials; and student nurses, nursing instructors, and retired and volunteer nurses coordinating virtual education programs, drive-through testing sites and many other community health initiatives. The list of nursing roles and responsibilities in this crisis gets larger every day. 

It’s often been said that nursing is a calling, but it is more than that. It is a profession people trust and depend on to keep us safe. We rely on nurses’ resilience – to be there for us no matter what, their expertise – to provide critical interventions and safeguard our health, and their conviction and compassion – to be our voice and advocate when we cannot speak for ourselves.

This Nurses Week was meant to mark the 200th birth year of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. More than any celebration could have, today’s nurses are demonstrating her dogged determination and the myriad ways they contribute, adapt, and take the lead in crisis situations. 

On behalf of the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition, I would like to share our thanks to the dedicated nurses, and the many other healthcare heroes working with them, to keep our community safe. 


Jan Mauck retired as Chief Nursing Officer from Sarasota Memorial Hospital in 2016. Since then, she has co-chaired the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC), a grassroots coalition of hospital, nursing school and volunteer community leaders working to strengthen the four-county region’s nursing workforce through scholarships, advocacy and support. Visit to learn more. 


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


Floridians To Have Greater Access to Primary Care: Article from

Floridians To Have Greater Access to Primary Care: Article from
 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 11 signed legislation that will allow qualified nurse practitioners in the state to provide health care services without physician oversight. The new law, effective July 1, provides a path for consumers to more directly receive primary care from advanced practice registered nurses.

Article By: A.G. Gancarski; Originally Featured on:

“Qualified nurse practitioners will be able to independently operate primary care practices without an attending doctor’s supervision under a bill (HB 607) passed by the Legislature and signed hours later by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Advanced nurse practitioners with at least 3,000 hours of experience under the supervision of a physician could qualify to provide services including family medicine, general pediatrics and general internal medicine under the new law.

Nurse practitioners would have to complete minimum graduate level course work in differential diagnosis and pharmacology.

The bill was a priority for House Speaker Jose Oliva, who praised the Governor’s quick action.

“Floridians’ access to quality health care is our top priority,” Oliva said in a news release. “Freeing (advanced practice registered nurses) of the red tape that has historically stopped them from working to the full extent of their education and training will immediately improve access to quality care for all,” he said.”

Read on:


Herald-Tribune Feature: “Aging in the Right Place: Nurses are vital to the future of aging”

Article originally from the Herald-Tribune:

The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition is now offering up to $150,000 in scholarships to encourage prospective nursing students to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Aging is a team sport. Doing it well requires a good team of people around you: family, friends and health care workers.

In a world where people age 65 and older are expected to edge out the number of children under the age of 18 by 2035, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, health care workers are more important than ever.

Employment of nurses is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for most occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But despite nursing being a profession in high demand that’s growing faster than other occupations, it’s likely not growing fast enough. In fact, many projections show that we could be on the verge of facing one of the biggest nursing shortages in U.S. history, with 1.2 million vacancies expected to emerge for nurses between 2014 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So bolstering the nursing workforce should be a high priority for us all if we intend to age well.

Enter the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition, a regional organization with the mission to do just that — help bolster nursing in the area, develop resources for them, and help implement recommendations that will improve the future of nursing.

SNAC is now offering up to $150,000 in scholarships to encourage prospective nursing students to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Why a bachelor’s degree? Because decades of research shows that a higher percentage of nurses with bachelor of science in nursing degrees results in improved health outcomes for patients.

“Investing in nursing education is one of the best things a community can do to ensure the health of our community,” said Jan Mauck, former chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and co-chair of SNAC, in a news release. “Fortunately, we live in a community willing to support this scholarship program and help ensure a highly prepared nursing workforce.” …”

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SNAC $2500 BSN Scholarship – Applications due March 1, 2020

SNAC is pleased to share the application for the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition’s BSN Scholarship opportunity.  This is a $2,500 scholarship opportunity for individuals in an accredited BSN nursing program.

The application description and all supporting materials can be found online.  The application submission is an online process. 

Feel free to share this application link with anyone who may benefit from this opportunity.

DEADLINE: March 1, 2020

For questions or further information, please contact:

Lindsey Masterson, Manager of Scholarships & Grants

Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.


Opening of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Accelerated BSN Program

SNAC celebrates the opening of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Accelerated BSN program. The long-awaited presence of University of South Florida College of Nursing in Sarasota and Manatee is firmly in place as the inaugural 2020 class is introduced to the Nursing Skills Lab. Thirty students began classes this week on the Sarasota campus.

Learn more about the opening of this new program and lab that will not only open the doors for more local students to be licensed, but also to help train nurses more effectively:

Pictured: Kate Garber, SNAC NEN; Dr Natasha Zurcher, instructor College of Nursing; Jan Mauck, Co-founder SNAC
Pictured: Dr. Karen Holbrook, Regional Chancellor USFSM; Jan Mauck, co-founder SNAC; Dr. Victoria Rich, Dean USF College of Nursing; Charles Baumann, co-founder SNAC

Florida State University College of Nursing: Graduate Information Session

Florida State University College of Nursing will be hosting an Graduate Information Session on Monday, January 13th. We would be honored to host any students or graduate prospects who may be interested in furthering their education! 


Florida State University invites RNs and APRNs to learn about their online graduate and doctoral programs at their January information session in Sarasota:

Monday, January 13, 2020 | 6 – 8 PM
Florida State University
Sarasota Regional Medical School Campus
5590 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34233

To learn more visit:
Or contact:, (941) 807-1686