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Students can get their nursing degree in 12 months through new Jacksonville University, Baptist Health partnership

More than 300 people have registered for the first informational session in March.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Leaders at Baptist Health report a nursing shortage, in addition to a shortage nationwide, and now they'll be able to get more qualified nurses sooner thanks to a new partnership with Jacksonville University. 

One prospective nursing student, Jessica Reade, thought she wanted to become a doctor until she volunteered at a nursing home in Gainesville.

“I was able to spend a lot of time at the bedsides of patients who were actively passing away," Reade said. “I had an opportunity while I was there to see the hospice care nurses come in and out of the room, and the care that they provided to the patients was outstanding."

Now Reade wants to become a geriatric nurse and may be able to get her Bachelors Degree in nursing in 12 months if she's accepted into the program. 

“This program is going to accelerate and improve the pipeline of nurses available to Northeast Florida in general and Baptist in particular," said Elizabeth Bruno, chief learning officer at Baptist Health. 

Students in the program will have their residency at various Baptist Health locations in the accelerated program.

“Baptist has multiple facilities throughout the Jacksonville area, so they’ll be able to rotate through each of those facilities at various times depending on their clinical rotations, including long-term health, adult care, pediatrics, OB, obstetrics," said Dr. Lindsay Wolf, a clinical nursing assistant professor at Jacksonville University. 

Those at Jacksonville University say the coronavirus pandemic has made the nursing shortage worse across the country, along with an aging population.

“This pandemic has brought forth the need to provide nurses to work on the frontlines in the hospitals and to get good quality education for those nurses that are out there," said Erica Bilalovic, undergraduate nursing director at Jacksonville University. 

This program will launch in the fall of 2021. More than 300 people have signed up for the first informational session in March, including Reade.

“I am starting this new chapter of my life," Reade said. "I am ready to jump-start it and get it going.”

Click here for more information on the program.