The UCF-based Florida Center for Nursing played a key role this week in briefing the state Legislature on the status of Florida’s health care workforce.

Mary Lou Brunell, executive director of the center, spoke on the state’s nurse workforce at a Nov. 6 meeting of the House of Representative’s Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation in Tallahassee.

“It was clear that there is a critical nursing shortage and that committee members want to do something to alleviate it,” Brunell said.

She also shared data on the current capacity of the nurse education system and the aging of Florida’s working nurses.

“We were able to point out that we must facilitate transition from entry-level positions into difficult-to-fill positions in critical care and trauma, administration, case management, and other areas,” she explained.

Also presenting at the meeting were representatives from the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Department of Health, and Department of Education.

The House committee will meet again in January. Brunell said she is confident the Florida Center for Nursing will be invited back to participate in future discussions centered on addressing the nursing shortage.

The Florida Center for Nursing is a state workforce center established in Florida statute to recommend solutions to address Florida’s nursing shortage. The center is administered by UCF’s College of Health and Public Affairs, and its offices are located in the Research Pavilion in the Central Florida Research Park.