SPC, HCA Florida Healthcare partner to reduce Florida’s nursing shortage


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A partnership between HCA Florida Healthcare and St. Petersburg College (SPC) is helping train the area’s future caregivers and combat the state’s nursing shortage.

The College of Nursing at SPC partnered with HCA Florida Healthcare on the Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) grant, which incentivizes collaboration between nursing education programs and health care partners in reducing the shortage of nurses in the state. In October, the SPC Foundation recognized an $80,000 gift from HCA Florida Healthcare at a ceremony held at the Clearwater Campus.

“Estimates are the nursing shortage will grow to 59,000 by 2030. Our partnership with St. Petersburg College is an excellent opportunity to change this and help ensure we have the nurses we need to care for our patients in the years ahead,” said Leanne Salazar, DNP, MBA, ARNP, CENP, CPPS, CPHQ, FNP-BC, the Chief Nurse Executive at HCA Healthcare West Florida Division. “St. Petersburg College is a high-quality educator that not only provides well-trained nurses to our local community but also has an impressive pass rate for nursing graduates taking their state license exam. We continue to be excited about this partnership’s future.”

The money awarded through HCA Florida Healthcare provided $30,000 in new equipment and supplies in support of SPC’s nursing programs.

The college also awarded 25 students a $2,000 scholarship with the remaining funds.

“This scholarship helps students to not have to work or to work less. It can also help buy their books or to do whatever it is they need it to do so they can focus on their studies,” said Dr. Leah Olson, Academic Program Director at SPC. “Getting a nursing degree is very challenging, and the college wants all students to be prepared to take care of people and the community.”

In addition, the partnership with HCA Florida Healthcare helped SPC garner an additional $80,000 in funding through the Florida Department of Education.

SPC continues to give students access to better jobs and a better future with the help of higher education.

“St. Petersburg College is affordable and accessible, and I was able to move forward with my education because of SPC. The College of Nursing has met all my expectations,” said Sandra Krause, an SPC nursing student and scholarship recipient. “I am currently an LPN, which has opened a lot of doors for me, but becoming an RN will open a thousand doors for me. This scholarship helped me continue to do right by my family and graduate in December of this year!”

Two other scholarship recipients echoed their classmate's praises about SPC. Both Carol Gauvey and Emily Plante will graduate in May 2024, and become registered nurses thanks to SPC. Gauvey stated that the scholarship gave her the chance to go part-time. This allowed her to spend more time with family and focus on school as she takes classes at night and on the weekend.

Plante goes to class during the week and has been a part of the Titan family since before even setting foot on a college campus. “SPC has given me a lot of opportunities starting in high school with dual admissions enrollment,” Plante said. “The college has been alongside me since the beginning of my journey to my nursing degree, and I am very grateful for SPC. This scholarship has continued to help me move forward with my degree.”

SPC’s College of Nursing has prepared nurses to meet the demands of the changing health care industry for the past six decades. The partnership with HCA Florida Healthcare is proof of SPC’s commitment to its students and their future success.