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Aging in the Right: Place Nurses are vital to the future of aging

Posted on February 25, 2020 | by Michael Moore Jr., Herald-Tribune Media Group
 Aging in the Right: Place Nurses are vital to the future of aging

Editor's Note: This article is written by Michael Moore Jr. and was originally published by 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 an excellent 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. 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 a Bachelor of Science in Nursing 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.”

The Manatee Community Foundation contributed $100,000 this year to encourage more nurses and nursing students to earn their BSNs in locally accredited nursing programs in the hopes of offsetting the region’s nursing shortage.

Since 2016, SNAC has awarded $264,000 in nursing scholarships to 72 local recipients, primarily to local nurses and nursing students pursuing BSN degrees. SNAC has also earmarked eight scholarships to nurses pursuing doctoral degrees because to have good nursing students, you must have strong nursing professors.

The deadline to apply for the scholarships is March 1, 2020. To be eligible, applicants must live or work at a medical facility within the SNAC region (Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), or be a graduate of a high school from one of those counties.

Applicants also must:
• Have applied for acceptance to an accredited nursing bachelor’s program.
• Plan to be a full- or part-time student.
• Demonstrate financial need.
• Obtain at least one recommendation from an employer or faculty/instructor.

For more information about SNAC, visit snac4fl.org. You can apply for the scholarships online HERE.


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