Our History

The Concept
Through collaboration and with professional commitment from statewide nursing leaders, during its 2001 session the Florida Legislature passed a law which Governor Jeb Bush signed establishing the Florida Center for Nursing (FCN). The Center was created through the advocacy efforts of a coalition of nursing organizations, including the Florida Nurses Association (FNA), the Florida Organization of Nurse Executives (FONE), the Florida Board of Nursing (FBON), the Florida Association of Colleges of Nursing (BSN & Higher Programs), the Florida Council of Nursing Education Administrators (ADN Programs), and the Florida Hospital Association (FHA). In March 2001 Mary Lou Brunell, President of the FNA convened a legislative summit bringing together leadership from each of the above organizations. During this event, the concept of a nurse workforce center to address the impending critical nursing shortage in Florida was formalized. A white paper authored by Ms. Brunell, Dr. Phyllis Watson, FONE President and Barbara Lumpkin, FNA Lobbyist was presented to and approved by the collective. This white paper was presented to the legislature by Ms. Lumpkin and Rich Rasmussen, FHA Lobbyist. In one legislative session the language was drafted and a bill passed establishing the FCN. The cohesive commitment among the stakeholder organizations to address the nursing shortage in Florida clearly influenced the outcome. To propose, draft, and pass statutory language establishing a center during the same legislative session is truly uncommon and speaks to the strength of nursing when unified.

The Law
The statute (§ 464.0195) establishing the Center identifies its purpose as to address issues of supply and demand for nursing, including issues of recruitment, retention, and utilization of nurse workforce resources. The Legislature finds that the Center will repay the state's investment by providing an ongoing strategy for the allocation of the state's resources directed towards nursing.

The primary statutory goals address collecting and analyzing nursing workforce data, developing and disseminating a strategic plan for nursing, developing and implementing reward and recognition activities for nurses, promoting nursing excellence programs, image building, and recruiting into the profession. The Center is further charged to convene various stakeholder groups to review and comment on nursing workforce data and to recommend systemic changes that will improve the recruitment and retention of nurses in Florida. The Center reports on the results of its work to the Governor, the state legislature and other stakeholders.

A companion legislative statute (§ 464.0196, 2001) sets the structure for the FCN. The Center is governed by a policy-setting board of directors, whose membership is specified in statute. It is required that the Florida Nurses Association, Florida Hospital Association, Florida Organization of Nurse Executives, and both associate and baccalaureate programs of nursing education are represented on the board. All members are appointed by the Governor, who receives recommendations from the Florida Senate, House of Representatives, and Board of Education. The FCN Board of Directors employs the executive director, determines operational policy, elects its chair and officers, and establishes committees. The Board may solicit and accept non-state funds to sustain the work of the Center.

Delayed by circumstances resulting from the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Center held its inaugural meeting on March 1, 2002. At that time, the University of Central Florida College of Health and Public Affairs (COHPA) was designated to house the FCN. Annually the University enters into a state contract to serve as fiscal agent for the Center. For the first two years, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration held the contract. The Florida Department of Health is the current contracting agency.

Members of the first FCN Board of Directors were Barbara Alford, Cathy Allman, Carol Davis, Carolann Gegenheimer, Ed Goodemote, Andrea Gregg, Roxanne Harke, Leah Kinnaird, Alan Levine, Nancy McGovern, Annie Neasman, Wayne Poston, Wanda Thomas, Susan White, Kathy Whitson, and Mary Lou Brunell who was elected to serve as Board Chair. Together they articulated the Center's vision and mission as well as established goals to set the Center's work in motion.

As Governor Jeb Bush stated (2003), "The Florida Center for Nursing reflects a statewide commitment to recognize the importance of nursing to the people of our state. As our health care system embraces new technology and responds to changing needs, nurses will be critical in delivering essential services and caring for those in need. The Center will prepare for the future through planning efforts today."

In 2007, the Florida Legislature and Governor Charlie Crist recognized Ms. Lumpkin's contributions to the Center by designating it as the "Florida Barbara B. Lumpkin Center for Nursing". Ms. Lumpkin recently retired from her position with the FNA. The Center Board Members and Staff appreciate her contributions and thank Ms. Lumpkin for all that she has done to advance the effort to address the nursing shortage in Florida.

FCN is housed in the College of Health Professions and Sciences at the University of Central Florida
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