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HomeBusiness & CommunityReviving tradition: a nursing student at every bedside

Reviving tradition: a nursing student at every bedside

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Nurses are more in demand than ever. That is why Bravera Health decided to partner with Jersey College – School of Nursing to bring an on-location nursing school to Bravera Health in Brooksville. The first class of nursing students began in January and the second class is set to begin on May 9.

“The need for nurses has been high for some time and the pandemic has only increased the demand,” says Joshua DeTillio, Chief Executive Officer, Bravera Health Brooksville, and Spring Hill. “Among other factors driving need, nurses have many employment options. We believe that engaging with well-educated students to share the values, philosophies, and practices of Bravera Health hospitals will help us care for our communities into the future.”

Jersey College – School of Nursing facility at Bravera Health spans 13000 square feet that include study rooms, classrooms, mock hospital rooms, and a main lab area set up like an ER.

The two observation classrooms are mock hospital rooms so students can get into the habit of thinking about real-world scenarios. In these mock hospital rooms are also mock patients, and mannequins that are programmed, by an Ipad, to act out different medical scenarios for students to learn from. In one room there is a mid-fidelity mannequin named Suzie while Victoria, a high-fidelity mannequin is in the adjacent room.

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Suzie can be programmed to simulate different types of breathing. Students can practice chest compressions, and defibrillators on her, among other medical treatments. And she talks! She can be programmed to say anything or a speaker can talk through her. This is beneficial in helping students practice how they’re going to treat and respond to patients in real life. Students can go through normal procedures with her and learn hands-on. The mannequins also display vitals, helping the students accurately assess the situation they are in.

Meanwhile, Victoria can do pretty much everything Suzie can do, but she can also blink and track you with her eyes. She is also pregnant and can simulate contractions and giving birth. The mannequin’s placenta is also pushed out during the simulation birth. Her baby can cry and is also high-fidelity.

The main training lab of the college is where they practice skills and procedures like taking blood pressure, listening to breathing, putting in IVs, drawing blood, etc. They also have a section of the college for pediatrics with interactive mannequins.

Through a partnership with Bravera Health Brooksville, the nurses in training are able to complete a portion of their clinical work in the hospital’s observation rooms and labs.

The nursing program at Jersey College – School of Nursing is a 28-month program, made up of six semesters with classes being held three times a week.

“These hospital-based programs are specifically up to three days a week so that you can be getting experience working ideally for the hospital. So that’s a really big advantage of these programs,” said Maggie Jeffers, Jersey College – School of Nursing Division Director of Hospital Campuses. “If they are not already an employee of the hospital, the hospital may hire them after their first term in a nurse apprenticeship position.”

The schedule of classes varies. Clinicals can take up the entire day, depending on the site they are at. Students will begin to work in the labs by their seventh week in the program. Once they get the basics and the foundation of the program in the first semester, then by week eight they will start getting hands-on experience by working in a hospital. After that, every semester continues to become more hands-on for the students. The program has three different start times throughout the year, in January, May, and September. So May 9th is their next start time. Currently, there are 11 students in the program that started this past January. Each semester they are looking to enroll 24 students into the program. Once they have all six semesters going they expect to have between 120 and 130 students.

Jersey College – School of Nursing started in New Jersey, then they branched into Florida with stand-alone locations in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. Then there are the hospital-based campuses which started in 2016 in Largo, then one in Port Charlotte in 2020, Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2021, and then Brooksville and Naples in 2022. They are continuing to expand into other states in the near future.

Hospital-based nursing schools are a traditional form of education, but are not as widely available as they once were, with only a couple dozen around the country, according to nursingschool.org. Yet those programs are thriving because they offer significantly more clinical work and bedside care experience, and a hospital eager and ready to hire graduates.

To enter the program there is an interview and application process. There is a program option for students who are already Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). But for those who are just starting out, they will need to be 18 years or older, need a high school diploma or GED, and have an ACT or SAT score that meets a certain requirement. Jersey College also has their own entrance exam consisting of basic reading and math if the student has not taken the SAT or ACT. They will provide tutoring for the entrance exam if needed. Jersey College – School of Nursing offers financial aid for those students who qualify for it. Grants and loans are available and they participate in full federal financial aid.

Jeffers says that they try to be as helpful as possible during the admissions process and if there are obstacles, they are ready to help find solutions.
“Let’s figure out how to get you through your obstacles because we need nurses. And if that’s your passion, we can get you here,” said Jeffers.

There are four financial assistance programs offered through Jersey College – School of Nursing and Bravera Health.
The Jersey College Nursing Program Scholarship is a special scholarship of up to 10 percent to Bravera Health employees.
Through the Loan Forgiveness program, Jersey College graduates that work for Bravera Health are eligible for loan forgiveness benefits from Bravera Health and could receive up to $5000 per year for up to four years.
Under the Tuition Reimbursement program, Jersey College students who work for Bravera Health throughout their enrollment are eligible for tuition reimbursement through Bravera Health- up to $5000 per year, depending on the minimum weekly hours worked throughout enrollment.
Through the Nursing Program Tuition Assistance, all Jersey College students attending the Brooksville Campus are eligible to receive $10,000 from Bravera Health for their nursing education. Students will be awarded up to $5,000 per year for two years to cover their institutional charges. There are certain requirements, including a post-graduation commitment to Bravera Health.

Learn more about the financial aid options available at:

The overall tuition for Jersey College of Nursing is about $40,000 for the two years, and that includes tuition, lab fees, books, etc. Upon completion, the graduate will earn an Associate Degree in Nursing and will be eligible to apply for the NCLEX-RN (TM) examination to become licensed as a Registered Nurse.

A financial advisor is on hand to assist prospective students in navigating the financial aid options available and in planning out the financial aspects of the program.

“Anyone coming in will get an idea of what it looks like financially. We try to make that as painless as possible. If there is a student coming in and they work for Bravera, but maybe they have some out-of-pocket expense, we work with them. We don’t expect that all upfront. Let’s figure out a plan,” Jeffers remarked.

The median annual salary for registered nurses in 2020 was $75,330 and $48,000 for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2021. LPNs work under the supervision of an RN or other healthcare practitioner. There are over 3 million open nursing jobs in the US as of June 2021, and this is expected to grow at a rate of 7% between 2019 and 2029 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2021).

The vision of a nursing student at every bedside and the hospital-based education of nurses is at the heart of the partnership between Bravera Health and Jersey College of Medicine.

Jeffers states, “The traditional nursing diploma programs were exactly that. It was a hospital-based way of educating nurses. It wasn’t a degree, but it’s the same idea. It’s getting students in there on day one. Being comfortable knowing everything from where the labs are, to who the doctors are. And after you finish our program you are poised to become licensed as a Registered Nurse. It’s a win for everybody.”

Summer Hampton
Summer Hampton
Summer Hampton is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in communication focused in culture and media. She is Poynter ACES certified in editing through the Poynter Institute, with a certificate of book publishing obtained through the University of Denver.
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