UWF develops second nursing cohort to meet workforce demand

The University of West Florida has approved the development of a second cohort for pre-licensure BSN nursing students to meet the increasing needs of the local workforce. The new cohort, set to begin in Spring 2016, is expected to add 30 to 40 nursing students to the first cohort’s average of 60 students admitted each year.

“UWF has worked diligently over the last few years to obtain accreditation of all of its programs and secure highly educated and qualified high quality nursing faculty,” said Dr. Ermalynn Kiehl, associate dean of health and nursing department chair. “The natural progression of our nursing program is to provide education to a greater number of students to more sufficiently meet the local workforce needs.”

As the only nationally accredited BSN program in the Pensacola area, UWF enjoys uniquely strong relationships with community partners. Requests from such partners for more BSN graduates led to the development of the second nursing cohort.

The Institute of Medicine echoed the trend in its 2009 report, ‘The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,’ in which it recommended increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by the year 2020.

This additional cohort each year is a significant addition for the UWF program, not only for providing additional BSN prepared nurses to the workforce, but also to provide additional opportunities throughout the year for acceptance into a nursing program,” Kiehl said.

Dr. Michael Huggins, Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Health explains there is a huge demand for nurses with a BSN degree.

“Each year, we turn away a tremendous number of well qualified candidates for our BSN program due to the limited capacity,” he said. “This demand was the driving force for creating additional capacity in the program by adding a second cohort.”

Additional masters and doctoral prepared faculty will be hired to provide education to the new cohort, comprised predominantly of current applicants and UWF pre-nursing students. The Nursing Advisor will contact qualified students.