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AdventHealth invests $5 million in UCF's College of Nursing to fuel future of whole-person care

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Two of Florida’s leading health care systems and Florida’s leading producer of nursing talent are uniting to address the state’s nursing shortage.

Rendering of the UCF's College of Nursing to fuel future of  whole-person care
In collaboration with HuntonBrady Architects, Ayers Saint Gross, DPR Construction, TLC Engineering Solutions, and Walter P Moore UCF is actively designing a 21st-century facility that will allow the university to educate more Knight Nurses and foster innovation and collaboration.

Fueled by $10 million in combined commitments from AdventHealth and Orlando Health, the UCF College of Nursing has moved a major step closer to a new building at Lake Nona that will enable the college to graduate hundreds of additional nurses annually who will care for patients throughout the region and state. The new building also will expand the college’s capacity to educate future nursing faculty members who are needed to teach the nurses of tomorrow.

As UCF’s inaugural Pegasus Partners, AdventHealth and Orlando Health have each committed $5 million to support those much-needed efforts as well as to provide tuition assistance and additional paid internships for UCF nursing students.

“AdventHealth and Orlando Health have been valued, transformative partners to UCF as we collaborate to support the health and well-being of our community,” said UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “Their continued partnership and generous investment in UCF’s College of Nursing will make a difference in our region for generations to come.”

AdventHealth and Orlando Health employ more than 12,000 nurses combined at a total of 34 hospitals across Central Florida. Both systems will rely on UCF to help prepare the additional talent they need to combat the national nursing shortage and expand their workforces.

“Ensuring we have well-educated, highly trained and skilled nurses to meet Florida’s growing health care needs is a pressing challenge for the entire health care sector,” said Randy Haffner, CEO of AdventHealth Florida. “Partnering with leading educational institutions such as UCF is absolutely vital to ensuring these efforts are successful.”

“Like many healthcare systems across the state and the nation, Orlando Health constantly evaluates and adjusts strategies in order to deliver exceptional patient care,” said Karen Frenier, MBA BSN RN, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Chief Nurse Executive, Orlando Health. “We are excited about our long-term partnership with UCF as we continue to strategically plan nursing workforce opportunities for the future.”

In addition to contributing to the new building, each hospital’s gift will support student success with the creation of a scholars program named in their honor. Each of those programs will provide tuition assistance to 10 senior BSN students annually and establish a paid summer internship program for an additional 10-15 students annually.

“Our longstanding partnerships with AdventHealth and Orlando Health have a wide-reaching impact on the community, from supporting a quality education of our students who join the workforce and provide compassionate, skilled care to funding faculty research and innovation to improve outcomes,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “We are extremely thankful to these leading health systems for their commitment to UCF and their generous gifts to fuel the future. Together, we will continue to make our Central Florida communities healthier.”

UCF currently graduates more newly licensed RNs annually than any other institution in the State University System, with approximately 260 Knight nurses entering the workforce each year. Almost all of them — 85% of the 16,000 nursing alumni — live and work in Florida.

Last year, the College of Nursing added 100 students beyond its usual enrollment to help keep pace with the state’s demand for new nurses. The new building is needed for the additional enrollment growth, and when complete, the 90,000-square-foot building will be large enough for the college to increase enrollment by at least 50% to make a much bigger impact in helping to alleviate the state’s nursing shortage.

UCF continues to seek philanthropic investments in the new building, as we near the goal of raising $70 million needed to break ground on the College of Nursing. $26.2 million has been raised through philanthropy to-date, which will be combined with $43.7 million committed by the State of Florida, to support the region and guide 21st century healthcare.

AdventHealth and Orlando Health join Dr. Phillips Charities, Helene Fuld Health Trust, Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, Parrish Medical Center and VNA Foundation in support of this transformational project.

UCF grad finds her calling at AdventHealth

UCF nursing grads are integral to AdventHealth’s mission at every level of the organization, from the bedside to senior leadership.

One UCF graduate, Proebe Ybanez, is a high school teacher-turned-nurse, who brings her passion for health care literacy to AdventHealth.

Driven by her dedication to promoting health care awareness, Proebe found her calling in nursing.

Her inspiring story shines a light for aspiring nursing students, offering them the chance to join a supportive community and access exceptional learning opportunities at the University of Central Florida's nursing program. Click here to see Proebe’s story.

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