Ascension Sacred Heart and University of West Florida establish immersive nursing experience

Ascension Sacred Heart and the University of West Florida (UWF) will begin a strategic initiative that allows 16 upper-level Bachelor of Science in Nursing students to complete the final three semesters of their clinical and classroom time on Sacred Heart Pensacola’s campus.

With the Florida Center of Nursing estimating a sharp decline in registered nurses by 2025, this initiative will serve as the foundation for a long-term commitment to the communities across Northwest Florida by preparing the next generation of nurses and maintaining a pipeline of local talent ready to care for the Pensacola community.

Sacred Heart has planned to invest $228,000 for the first cohort of students, with tentative plans to continue the program. That initial gift amount will also be matched by the state’s Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) fund. 

“Sacred Heart’s investment in UWF’s nursing program is significant in both size and scope, and emphasizes the value UWF can play in meeting the nursing shortage,” said Dr. Gary Liguori, UWF provost and senior vice president. “The creation of healthcare provider-university partnerships is critical to meet the current and future needs of the local healthcare workforce, and Sacred Heart’s commitment to UWF will keep that pipeline strong for many years to come.”

“We are blessed to be able to provide additional support to our local nursing students and the University of West Florida in this collaborative way,” said President of Sacred Heart Pensacola Will Condon. “It’s in the best interest of our community that we continue to cultivate and support our nurses of tomorrow in every way possible.” 

Funding from Sacred Heart will supplement funding for student scholarships and faculty stipends for this unique education opportunity which is the first of its kind at UWF.

This hands-on experience provides unique opportunities to work with vulnerable populations across Northwest Florida and help support community engagement as incoming nursing professionals receive the necessary skills and relationships to succeed in the field.