Miami Dade College Taking Steps to Address Nursing Shortage

As the nation continues struggling with a severe nursing shortage, Miami Dade College (MDC) has pledged to grow its nursing program by 40 percent over the next three years, with generous support from the state, organizations and key partners.

nurseTo fulfill the increasing demand for nurses, MDC’s School of Nursing is collaborating with Leon Medical Center, Miami Jewish Health Center and Vitas to meet their shortage of licensed practical and vocational nurses. The school is also working with magnet hospitals to provide flexible bachelor’s degree in nursing courses, so that nurses with an associate degree can return to the classroom, as it prepares new nurses to join the workforce.

“We are strongly committed to addressing the local and national nursing shortage and meeting the needs of the healthcare community,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “That begins at home, in our own backyard, by offering top-quality education and establishing partnerships with area hospitals and medical providers to ensure students are exceptionally trained in all areas of patient care.”

Starting this semester, the MDC is once again offering the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, which provides a seamless path for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) graduates to advance and also creates a pipeline toward the Registered Nurse (RN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. The LPN program will admit students twice yearly to increase the number of students participating in the program. Meanwhile, MDC’s RN-to-BSN program has been ranked among the nation’s Top 10 most affordable.

MDC is also growing part-time nursing programs to meet the needs of students balancing school with work and life responsibilities. In addition, it has been investing in new training facilities, such as the new state-of-the-art nursing skills center at the Homestead Campus, a 4,850 square-foot facility featuring two simulation labs, a control room, two debriefing rooms, skills wings, and a health assessment wing.

All that wouldn’t be possible without essential support form the state and partners that assist students with tuition, books, uniforms, certifications, and more. Through a partnership with the Lennar Foundation, CNA students receive free tuition, books/supplies, uniform, CPR certification, state testing fee, student stipends, and more. If a student has a CNA credential and wishes to continue their schooling, Jackson Memorial Hospital has pledged to cover the cost of the education, qualifying the student for tuition reimbursement.

In addition, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has allocated $2.3 million in the state budget to accelerate and grow MDC’s nursing programs, and the Health Foundation of South Florida recently awarded the College $500,000.

MDC created its nursing program over 50 years ago to meet the rapidly growing demand for registered nurses in Miami-Dade County. To this day, it has graduated about 20,000 nurses with alumni working in every hospital and most outpatient facilities in the region, and a large percentage of Hispanic nurses nationally. Many of those alumni have gone on to pursue advanced graduate and doctoral degrees. Some have even returned to teach at MDC.