stethescope.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida has added 64 new nursing education programs of all types in the 18 months since a new law went into effect easing the approval process.


A legislative report Friday said the Board of Nursing approved programs at triple the rate for the previous 18 months.

The Legislature revised the process in response to a nursing shortage.

The Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability reported the new programs have increased student seats by 20 percent and enrollment by 13 percent. It's too early, though, to tell now the changes have affected graduation and retention rates or employment outcomes.

Florida had 185 programs in 2009-10 that graduated 26,188 students _ an 11.7 percent increase from the previous year.