PINELLAS PARK, FL (June 14, 2023) – After three years of COVID and an expected shortage of 59,000 nurses in Florida, a Tampa-based healthcare company has hit the road in an RV—setting out on a journey to personally say thanks to nurses and nurses aides in Florida and across the nation.
Employees from Gale Healthcare brought their #ThankaNurse Tour to Premier Nursing Academy in Pinellas Park today. The tour stop officially kicked off National Nursing Assistants Week—a time to celebrate some of the most essential workers in healthcare.
“We want to send a heartfelt, warm thank you to these students who are stepping up to become nursing assistants during this unprecedented nursing shortages,” said Tony Braswell, Founder and President of Tampa’s Gale Healthcare. “We are also proud to highlight Premier, an innovative school right here in Tampa Bay that's offering free training to help grow our nursing workforce. ”
Premier Nursing Academy’s training to become a nursing assistant is free to students because employers like hospitals and senior care communities that are in need of nurse aides pay for the program.
“We are removing the biggest hurdle to starting a career in nursing—the cost of education. Without that financial burden, we can attract more students to nursing, so we can help end this critical shortage,” said Chris Palevich, Market President of Premier Nursing Academy.
Nursing Shortages Threaten Healthcare in Florida
The #ThankaNurse Tour comes at a critical time, with nursing shortages nationwide.
- Florida is facing a projected statewide shortage of 59,100 nurses by 2033.
- A Gale Healthcare survey showed 59% of nursing staff are asked to work extra shifts on a weekly basis.
- A survey from the American Health Care Association found that 86% of nursing homes have moderate to severe staffing shortages.
- According to the National Association of Health Care Assistants, CNAs provide 90% of care in nursing homes.
- Florida has 698 certified nursing facilities, and is one of the largest employers of certified nursing assistants in the country, ranking second.
“Nursing assistants provide the majority of care in Florida nursing homes. These students will help ensure our loved ones get the care they deserve,” Braswell added. “That’s why our team at Gale is doing this. We want to encourage people to find ways to support and thank caregivers in their community, especially as we celebrate National Nursing Assistants Week.”
Inspiration Behind #ThankaNurse Tour and a Call to Action
Tampa-based Gale Healthcare is a national leader in nurse staffing. Using a digital platform, Gale connects healthcare providers to nurses and nurse aides who accept open shifts. Nurses use an app to choose when and where they work and get paid the same day. Gale now operates in 40 states with more than 62,000 nursing professionals nationwide.
After seeing firsthand the additional stresses placed on nursing professionals and how their dedication never faded over what’s been a difficult three years, Gale’s team wanted to find a unique way to show appreciation. In May, the company launched the #ThankaNurse Tour in Jacksonville, and is planning other stops across the eastern U.S. through the rest of the year. Everyone is invited to join this effort by thanking a nurse or sharing a positive story about a nurse they know on social media using the hashtag #ThankaNurse.
In addition, students interested in starting a career as a nurse can apply for scholarships from the Gale Healthcare Foundation, which the company started in 2022 with a commitment of more than half a million dollars to help nursing students. The foundation has a goal of raising a total of $1 million for nursing education in two years.