BY ROGER CALDWELL
Since its inception in July 1982, Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando (CFBNA) has remained at the forefront advocating for more inclusive and accessible healthcare for minority residents and promoting the professional growth and development of its members. The association’s primary focal areas have been Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. Some of its activities have included teaching health education classes, participating in local health fairs, educating community health workers, mentoring nursing students, offering continuing education hours, conducting a mini nurse academy, and awarding nursing scholarships.
“The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Nurses, that is expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care. The American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) is working with schools, policy makers, nursing organizations, and the media to bring attention to this healthcare concern. AACN is leveraging its resources to shape legislation, identify strategies, and form collaborations to address the shortage,” says the American Association of College of Nurses.
According to recent statistics, Florida graduate nurses have the highest failure rate in the country. The first step in addressing the nurse shortage is to ensure nurse graduates pass their licensing exam. Low pass rates have been identified as a primary contributor to this shortage.
Higher pay was the most influential motivation for Blacks and people of color to stay in the profession. Many nurses during the pandemic were being driven to leave the profession, because of insufficient staffing, and high levels of stress. Many of the nurses worked double and triple duty, and there was always the threat of contracting Covid-19.
As Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando continues to promote health and wellness, we are also striving to alleviate the nursing shortage by increasing the number of minority nurses entering the workforce. Armed with this knowledge of low pass rates, CFBNA’s part in assisting student nurses is to help students pass the licensing exam. Many of the Black and Brown students are struggling to pay their tuition, so there is a call for action.
Even though minority nursing students are struggling to pass their exam, in Florida there is a network of nursing school operators, who allowed students to buy diplomas without the proper training. A federal investigation into Florida nursing schools found them guilty of selling thousands of bogus nursing diplomas. It has sent state licensing officials scrambling to stop nurses with fraudulent documents.
To become a professional nurse it takes dedication and hard work, and breaking the law will eventually get you caught and put in jail.
CFBNA is taking the lead in Central Florida helping minority students in passing the exam. They assign a personal mentor for each student member, working to become a nurse. There is a listing of study aids, on their website and offering a monetary award for students to buy study materials or enroll in live and/or self-paced online courses. The assigned mentor will continue to provide individualized assistance to meet their mentee’s identified needs. The additional help will consist of reviewing test taking strategies, comprehensive case study reviews and other interventions as necessary.
The association is inviting all registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, retired nurses and student nurses to join CFBNA, and share your talents. By providing retired nurses with leadership opportunities, and working with student nurses, CFBNA is helping to improve the shortage of nurses.
CFBNA is a chartered chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc. (NBNA), Silver Springs MD. Through its 115 chapters, NBNA provides countless hours of community-based health care services and acts as the professional voice for over 200,000 African American nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean and Africa. For further information about Orlando’s chapter, you may view the website at cfbnaoforlando.org, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 407-476-6862.