Yesterday, the Florida Board of Governors approved three new Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) proposals to enhance collaboration between the USF Health College of Nursing and three major Tampa area hospitals. Each proposal allows for collaborative programs that will add to the nurse workforce pipeline, and each includes matching funds from the state that will allow the college to design and maintain robust training programs. The newest three LINE proposals pair the College of Nursing with BayCare, Advent Health, and Tampa General Hospital totaling $1.4 million.
In 2022, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis established the LINE fund for nursing schools to encourage collaboration between nursing education programs and health care partners. LINE funding is intended to increase the capacity of high-quality nursing education programs and the number of nursing graduates who are prepared to enter the workforce. For every dollar contributed to an institution by a health care partner, the fund provides a dollar-for-dollar match to the participating institution for approved proposals.
Previously, the USF College of Nursing efficiently utilized the LINE funding program while also optimizing collaboration with clinical partners at BayCare, HCA West Florida Division, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and Tampa General Hospital. It was during these funding cycles that $2.1 million total was secured.
The College has secured nearly $3.5 million in funding from LINE for the current fiscal year.
“Our generous partners and match by the state create a unique opportunity to expand simulation training for our nursing students, allowing us to partner with outstanding health care organizations, while also removing some of the most common barriers (tuition) so students can focus on their transition to professional practice,” said Usha Menon, RN, PhD, FAAN, FSBM, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing.
One of the many uses of this match funding is for nursing student scholarships like the Johns Hopkins Scholar program.
"I can implement the skills and teachings I learn in the classroom and incorporate them into a real clinical setting, said Paige Mott, a Johns Hopkins Scholar, “This opportunity equipped me with real hands-on experience that prepared me to practice as a registered nurse. I am incredibly thankful for these experiences at such a renowned and innovative hospital like Johns Hopkins All Children's.”
The success of the Johns Hopkins Scholar program inspired other partners to invest similarly, with both HCA West and Tampa General Hospital utilizing the LINE funding to support nursing students through scholarships.
The model of the LINE program means that additional proposals can be considered in future funding cycles from these current hospital partners as well as others.