COVID shortages offer Miami nursing students a unique opportunity


HIALEAH, Florida. – Hospitals are getting creative to fill chronic nursing shortages across a range of units, partnering with the University of Miami to create a pipeline of opportunities.

“A lot of people have come into nursing simply because they want to make a change with COVID,” said Nichole Crenshaw, associate dean of undergraduate nursing programs at the School of Nursing & Health Studies at the University. ‘UM. “They feel like this is an opportunity to do something meaningful.”

University of Miami nursing students now have a new opportunity to gain hands-on experience, a partnership with Steward Health Care’s five hospitals in South Florida that places students in clinical rotation.

“It’s more than changing the sheets,” said Dr. Marisela Marrero, president of the South Florida region at Steward.

Marrero said clinical rounds will include units that, before COVID-19, may have been limited to seasoned staff.

So once hired, “they can go straight into an intensive care unit even if they’re new grads, which we didn’t tend to do in the past,” Marrero said.

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“The days of having really experienced and qualified nurses in all your units, those days are over,” she said. “We just don’t have the number of employees we had in the past, so we have to think creatively.”

Industry analysts say the pandemic has exacerbated nursing shortages nationwide. Some have resigned. Some have retired. Others left hospitals for lucrative gigs with traveling nursing agencies.

This local partnership is now creating a pipeline to education and employment.

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“You’re more likely to apply to a place where you used to train,” Crenshaw said.

Marrero added: “In an intensive care unit you will find new nurses with seasoned nurses, and it was not as common in the past, you tended to put the new nurses in certain units where you thought it was better. was an easier learning curve. But we realized we need to change the model, and we need to make sure they come in straight in, ready to go, with the right support so they can care for patients in any unit of our hospitals.

The partnership also provides hospital nurses who are already on staff with continuing education opportunities at university. The program is launching with undergraduate students, with plans to expand to graduate nursing students, including anesthesiology nurses.

Steward Hospitals in South Florida:

  • Coral Gables Hospital, 3100 Douglas Road, Coral Gables

  • Florida Medical Center, 5000 W Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderdale Lakes

  • Hialeah Hospital, 651 E 25th St., Hialeah

  • North Shore Medical Center, 1100 NW 95th St., Miami

  • Palmetto General Hospital, 2001 W 68 Street, Hialeah

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