COVID-19 reveals bleak reality of nursing shortage as health care systems are stretched to the limit
West Palm Beach, Fla. –As COVID-19 reveals Florida’s stark nursing shortage, and healthcare systems throughout the state struggle to meet the need for care, Palm Health Foundation is providing scholarships to 41 nurses in Palm Beach County to help increase and advance professionals in the field. The foundation has awarded $440,000 in needs-based scholarships to nurses in undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs to aid in building a highly skilled workforce. Palm Health Foundation has granted more than $3 million in nursing scholarships to over 1,000 nursing students for advanced education since its founding in 2001.
Earlier this year, the Florida Center for Nursing reported, “Baseline forecasts show that Florida will face a shortage of registered nurses by 2025 that is capable of crippling our healthcare system and reducing access to care for Floridians.” Also cited as factors affecting the shortage are Florida’s baby boomers reaching retirement age and requiring more care and more than 40% of Florida’s nurses approaching retirement age within the next ten years without enough younger nurses to replace them.
Palm Health Foundation partners with the George Snow Scholarship Fund to administer scholarships to nurses attending Palm Beach County colleges and universities, including Palm Beach Atlantic University, South University, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, Keiser University and NOVA University. Degrees range from associate to doctorate, with many seeking to become RNs and family nurse practitioners. Scholarship funding is provided through the foundation’s Nursing Advancement Fund and donor advised funds including the Debra Coffman Howe Nursing Scholarship Fund and the B.J. and Paula Harris Scholarship Fund.
“Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to award scholarships at a time when the need for nurses has never been more evident,” said Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation. “Nurses have put themselves on the front lines during COVID-19 and we are grateful to have so many commit to meeting the needs of our community today and in the future.”
Palm Health Foundation is recognized by nursing leaders and educators for its dedication to growing and strengthening the nursing workforce in Palm Beach County since its inception in 2001. In addition to nursing scholarships, the foundation has invested more than $10 million in initiatives to build a highly skilled nursing workforce that provides care across all settings and supports optimal health in the community including care transitions and care coordination.
About Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $83 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit palmhealthfoundation.org or call (561) 833-6333.