Baycare Health, Lakeland Regional Health, and the State of Florida Invest in Florida Southern’s Nursing Programs

Jan 13, 2023

by FSC Staff

Florida Southern College is one of 27 colleges in the Sunshine State to be awarded matching grants from the State of Florida as part of new initiatives by Governor Ron DeSantis.

The pair of new government programs, Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) and Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers, and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education (PIPELINE), will award a total of $79 million for high-performing nursing education programs in Florida.

Nursing Students practicing patient care

FSC will receive $120,000 via the LINE program, which provides matching funds on a dollar-to-dollar basis to participating agencies that partner with approved health care providers. The original $120,000 investment will come from BayCare Health System and Lakeland Regional Health. 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.

"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."

Of the 27 institutions to receive state funding via LINE, Florida Southern is one of only eight private colleges.

"As students struggle to juggle an intense course of nursing study with their financial needs," Dr. Comer continued, "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.

Nursing Students practicing patient care

BayCare Health System will offer a Fellowship program consisting of a scholarship and specialized nurse education and training plan to six Florida Southern seniors per year. BayCare will also offer apprenticeships to the six during their senior year, as they fulfill their Senior Practicum at BayCare Winter Haven Hospital. In return, each student will commit to full-time employment as a BayCare Fellow at BayCare Winter Haven Hospital as a registered nurse upon graduation and licensure for a period of two years.

Lakeland Regional Health will offer scholarship opportunities to 12 seniors, who will then be offered full-time employment upon graduation and completion of licensure.

"These awards will meet a critical need of our state by ensuring we continue to have high-quality nursing graduates and by creating new opportunities for Floridians interested in healthcare," said Gov. DeSantis. "I am grateful to the colleges and universities who have gone above and beyond to train the next generation of nurses in our state."