Florida's rebound from nurse shortage at risk

A waning supply of nurse educators could impede Florida's success in resolving its shortage of nurses, according to a new report

The U.S. healthcare industry has struggled with a yearslong deficit of available nurses, and the only state that has shown improvement in closing the gap is Florida; a few states have anecdotal evidence of a potential rebound, but most don't track vacancy rates. Between 2022 and 2023, the average nurse turnover rate among 200 Florida hospitals fell from 32% to 20%. 

The Florida Center for Nursing, based in Tampa's University of South Florida College of Nursing, recently released its annual "The State of the Nursing Workforce in Florida" report. 

Based on data from the Health Resources and Service Administration, Florida will need 270,020 registered nurses by 2030, and 279,190 people will be ready to fill those positions. The surplus will be even greater for nurse practitioners: Estimates show 44,860 qualified NPs by 2030, which is nearly twice as many needed for open roles. 

A few roles aren't predicted to meet the demand metric. By 2030, the state is projected to need 4,110 licensed practical nurses but only have 3,140 — a 23.6% difference. 

Florida will also fall short of having enough nursing faculty by 2030. Between 2012 and 2021, the number of nursing faculty jobs in Florida increased by about 85% to 4,380 positions. By 2030, this number is expected to grow to 5,792. At the same time, their average salary has fallen from $122,000 in 2019 to $76,835 in 2022. This is 6% lower than the national average. 

If economic opportunities continue to be brighter in other states, nurse educators might flock outside of Florida, which can dampen the Sunshine State's projected success.

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