The Future of Professional Nursing in Naples

Jane Cox RN PhD

We are fortunate in the Naples area to have many opportunities for those who aspire to be nurses. There are no better caretakers than nurses. During the recent hurricane and during a busy holiday season, nurses leapt with both feet. Patient volumes are now up with the flu
season and there is not much time for breaks. Nurses work long stretches to accommodate precious moments with loved ones. It takes courage to become part of a profession that demands so much.

The future of nursing in our city is bright. As part of the health care team, a nurse residency program supports the assimilation of nurses into their jobs by development of critical thinking skills, assessment and management of patients. NCH Physician Group added 35 physicians, surgeons and 14 nurse practitioners and physician assistants. NCH offers four concierge medicine providers. In 2017,
NCH Baker Hospital downtown and North Naples Hospital, earned a five-star rank from Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). In order for NCH to maintain ongoing premier rankings, an increasing number of new, professional nurses will be needed.

To that end, several local universities offer nursing. Florida Gulf Coast University opened August 25, 1997. The first endowed chair of nursing was named for Dr. Joyce Thornton and now includes baccalaureate, masters and doctoral level programs. It consistently has graduates with strong pass rates on the Florida state boards exam. During their educational years, nursing students study human anatomy and physiology, mathematics, chemistry and microbiology.

Further study in nutrition, psychology, writing and humanities help individuals become well-rounded. Ave Maria curriculum is based on the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2008. It also incorporates professional standards and ethics.
Hodges University is beginning a baccalaureate nursing program. It is divided into two parts: pre-nursing and the nursing core. Students move through the program as a cohort as they learn valuable skills and teamwork. Nurses are in the forefront of illness prevention.

The Blue Zones Project in Southwest Florida has changed the lives of friends and neighbors by focusing on wellness. Nurses in Naples helped make Naples the healthiest and happiest in the nation for the second year in a row!

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