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Polk State receives $1.45 million for nursing education

Polk State College is thankful to the state and healthcare partners for providing $1.45 million for nursing education through the Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) and Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers, and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education (PIPELINE) programs, which are designed to mitigate Florida’s nursing shortage.

Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the awarding of $79 million to high-performing nursing education programs across Florida.

“These awards will meet a critical need of our state by ensuring we continue to have high-quality nursing graduates and by creating new opportunities for Floridians interested in healthcare,” DeSantis stated in a press release. “I am grateful to the colleges and universities who have gone above and beyond to train the next generation of nurses in our state.”

Polk State received $1,330,697 through PIPELINE. This funding is based on criteria including the number of nursing program completers and first-time NCLEX passing rates. Polk State is proud to graduate approximately 230 nurses each year between both the Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. Additionally, Polk State’s Associate in Science in Nursing 2021 graduates boasted a nearly 91% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN compared to 64% at the state level and 82% nationally.

“Our Nursing Program has a longstanding reputation of excellence and consistently produces highly skilled professionals who successfully meet local workforce needs,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “The LINE and PIPELINE funding will further support Polk State in the advancement of our Nursing Program, specifically ensuring students are most effectively equipped to serve this critical profession.”

“I am also grateful for our healthcare partners who not only hire our graduates, but also partner closely with our College to ensure our program remains on the cutting edge of industry needs,” Garcia Falconetti added. “Our partners also provide critical resources that support Polk State in educating and training exceptional nurses, assisting us in meeting our shared goal of quality healthcare for our community.”

AdventHealth, BayCare, Lakeland Regional Health, and Orlando Health have each committed $15,000 to the LINE program, resulting in Polk State’s $60,000 reward in LINE funding. This program provides matching funds on a dollar-to-dollar basis to participating agencies that partner with approved healthcare providers, resulting in an estimated $120,000 in total LINE funding for the College.

The College will invest LINE funds in additional equipment and training, along with the expansion of tutoring services in collaboration with healthcare partners to maximize student completion and increase job placements. Additionally, funding will provide scholarship opportunities for low-income students who meet Florida residency eligibility requirements.

Polk State has already implemented enhancements to its Nursing Program via PIPELINE funding, including the opening of its Center for Human Simulation. The Center spans multiple campuses and provides students with the equipment to practice their techniques with simulated patients and families in spaces that emulate the clinical environment.

These investments complement AdventHealth’s recent donation of $1.7 million to Polk State Nursing to establish the AdventHealth Dean of Nursing position, which will provide support for the expansion of Polk State’s limited-access, highly sought-after Nursing Program, as well as ensure the College keeps its finger on the pulse of industry needs in direct partnership with AdventHealth.

Quality nursing education and training remain critical as the need for registered nurses continues to grow nationally and locally, with this occupation listed on the 2021-2022 Regional Demand Occupations List for Polk County with approximately 300 vacancies each year.

“This support could not come at a better time as Polk County’s growth accelerates and the needs for healthcare professionals grow,” Garcia Falconetti said. “Thanks to Polk State Nursing’s quality faculty, the partnership of our healthcare partners, and the support of our elected officials, our College will continue to enhance and expand opportunities for students and the community.”

About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 14,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, and Associate in Science degrees, as well as 9,000 individuals in a wide range of certificate and workforce training programs. The College also operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.

Madison Fantozzi

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