A Healthy Investment in the Future

Feb 20, 2023

by FSC Staff

Nine Florida Southern College senior nursing majors have been awarded scholarships on behalf of BayCare Health, Lakeland Regional Health, and the State of Florida.

All nine are expected to graduate in the spring of 2023. The funding for the nine scholarships comes from a public-private partnership, where the State of Florida, through its new Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) program, matches dollar-for-dollar monies contributed by Baycare and LRH.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the new initiative, which will award a total of $79 million for high-performing nursing education programs to 27 institutions in the Sunshine State. FSC will receive $120,000 via the LINE program, matching the original $120,000 investment from BayCare and LRH. According to the program, funds may be used to award scholarships to students who meet in-state tuition residency requirements, recruit additional faculty, purchase equipment, and support simulation centers to advance high-quality nursing education programs throughout Florida.

Claiming the BayCare Fellowships are Anna Hinkle (Melbourne, Fla.), Aliya Cognetti (Kenneth City, Fla.), Mollie Canfield (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), and Autumn Hutter (St. Augustine, Fla.). Earning LRH Scholarships are Jahlia Brown (Gainesville, Fla.), Rachel Sturtevant (Gorham, N.H.), Perry Davis (Lakeland, Fla.), Sarah Zayas (Wesley Chapel, Fla.), and Estefani Santos (Fern Park, Fla.).

"The BSN nursing program is proud of the investment of our partners at Lakeland Regional Health and BayCare Winter Haven/Winter Haven Women’s Hospital,” said Dr. Linda Comer, Dean and the Dr. Keith R. Berend Endowed Chair of Nursing of the Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Our partners recognize the quality of nurses who graduate from our program, and are excited to collaborate with us on ways to expand the nursing workforce to meet the needs of Polk County.”

BayCare Health System will offer a Fellowship program consisting of a scholarship and apprenticeship, as students fulfill their Senior Practicum at BayCare Winter Haven Hospital. In return, each student will commit to full-time employment for a period of two years as a BayCare Fellow at BayCare Winter Haven Hospital as a registered nurse upon graduation and licensure.

Lakeland Regional Health will offer scholarship opportunities to five seniors, who will then be offered full-time employment upon graduation and completion of licensure.

“As students struggle to juggle an intense course of nursing study with their financial needs,” Dr. Comer said, “often a scholarship can contribute significantly toward successful completion of the program. The LINE funding will help students financially and assist in increasing the output of FSC nursing graduates into the local nursing workforce.”