DeSantis Announces $125 Million to Support Nursing Programs

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

May 16, 2022 Updated 4:21 PM ET

(@GovRonDeSantis, Twitter)
(@GovRonDeSantis, Twitter)

May 16, 2022 Updated 12:00 P.M. ET

SANFORD (FLV) –  Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that $125 million from the state’s budget will go to support nursing education programs and address the nursing instructor shortage in Florida.

“We’re pleased to see a lot of support for expanding the footprint of nurses here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. 

$100 million will help fund higher education and workforce education programs. The money will be rewarded to colleges and universities based on student performance. $25 million will go toward combating the shortage of nursing instructors. 

“It’s important that these hospitals and these health systems see the ability to expand their workforce,” DeSantis said. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the United States will need another 203,700 new RNs every year until 2026 to fill openings.

During the press conference, DeSantis called out health care providers for requiring nurses to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or lose their jobs. DeSantis said in some states nurses could come back to work if they had contracted COVID-19 and received the vaccine.

“I’m sorry. That is a religion that is not evidence based medicine and it’s wrong,” DeSantis said. 

He said mandating nurses get the vaccine “exacerbated” the nursing shortage. 

“It was so unbelievably counterproductive to impose that on medical personnel and that exacerbated a lot of the shortages throughout the rest of the country,” DeSantis said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo called the vaccine mandate “disrespectful.”

“Basically, it disregards them when you see that they’ve been providing heroic service, as nurses have done well before the pandemic, and continue to do the day,” Ladapo explained. “Then just dismiss them because of a personal decision that they may have chosen, made you choose not to do for a variety of reasons.”

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