Brevard County, FL (July 20, 2017) – Eastern Florida State College will offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in 2018 to help meet a critical need for more Registered Nurses along the Space Coast and in Florida.
The program was approved earlier this week by the State Board of Education in Tallahassee, paving the way for the College to launch the four-year degree.
“This is a very important program because it will give graduates excellent career opportunities as the local and regional demand for more Registered Nurses keeps growing,” said College President Dr. Jim Richey.
“It also furthers the key role the College is playing in helping educate a new generation of health care professionals and meeting vital workforce needs in our community.”
The program will be based in the College’s new Health Sciences Institute on the Melbourne campus, a facility that contains state-of-the-art training labs.
Eastern Florida currently offers an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing that is among the most sought-after programs at the College.
An Associate of Science Degree in Nursing will be required for entry into the Bachelor’s program, with qualified graduates and nurses already in the workforce eligible for entry.
The program is scheduled to launch in January 2018, and applications will be accepted beginning in August.
Classes will be held on campus in addition to being offered online, with the goal of improving access for nurses already in the workforce.
Among those who might seek the Registered Nursing degree is Alexandra Johnston, a mother of two small children, who lives in Palm Bay and who is scheduled to receive her Associate’s Degree in Nursing this summer.
“It’s enticing for sure,” said Johnston. “Eastern Florida has a great reputation in the community for the high quality nurses they produce.”
Marisol Harrington, who too is scheduled to receive her Associate’s Degree in Nursing this summer, is also interested in the new program.
“I think it’s very important because a lot of hospitals are requiring a Bachelor’s degree,” said the Kissimmee resident. “Anytime you can advance your education, it’s great.”
A 2016 survey by the Florida Center for Nursing found that more than 70 percent of hospitals statewide prefer to hire nurses with a Bachelor’s degree in the field.
State officials approved the program after College officials cited state and national studies showing there are thousands of Registered Nurse vacancies in Florida caused by the retirement of health care professionals. The average age for an RN in Florida is 50.
They also said Florida’s aging population of Baby Boomers is soaring, another major factor in the rising demand for RNs.
Locally, the Eastern Florida program is supported by Health First, the largest employer of RNs in Brevard County. Other community-based health care providers in Brevard County also say it is needed.
The State Board of Education also approved new baccalaureate nursing programs Monday for Valencia College, Seminole State College and Lake-Sumter State College to help address the statewide RN shortage.
The Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing will be the 17th four-year track that Eastern Florida has started in the fast-growth job fields of Business, Healthcare and Computer Technologies. Eastern Florida currently offers 16 Bachelor’s degree tracks, with about 1,600 students enrolled this year.
To learn more about Bachelor’s degree opportunities at EFSC, visit http://www.easternflorida.edu/go/bachelors