PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Indian River State College is looking to help combat the nursing shortage by doubling the size of its nursing program.
The pandemic has led to many healthcare workers burning out.
Some have changed professions while others have chosen to retire early.
Since the start of the pandemic, nursing school applications at IRSC are up over 29%, according to the dean of nursing.
"The vast majority of our students have had someone affected by Covid or people they know I’ve been affected by Covid," said Dr. Timothy Moore, IRSC President. "As a result, it serves as a motivating source, to pay it forward, give back kind of process and I think that what you’re going to find is that the students are understanding and know what they’re getting into."
The nursing program will be moved from the college's main campus in Fort Pierce to the Pruitt Campus in St. Lucie West.
The expansion is being privately funded and will cost roughly $14 million dollars.
"A lot of people have been stopping on campus when they see us in these uniforms people respect us and they asked a lot of questions because they want insight into knowing what it entails to pursue a career like this to see what kind of people we are pursuing this career," said Exzimar St. Louis, nursing student. "They stop it ask us questions and I'm asked the requirements. They are looking into it. They’re buying books to study for the exam."
Dr. Moore said construction at the Pruitt Campus will begin in early 2022 and should be completed by the beginning of 2023.
He said students at the college are more motivated now than ever.
"The intellect is there, the drive is there, and the sobering reality is they can change lives and save lives," said Dr. Moore.
The college has programs that help direct graduated students to local hospitals on the Treasure Coast.