ORLANDO, Fla. -- There is a shortage of nurses in the state of Florida, and the University of Central Florida is trying to help fill that gap.

Hundreds of students are graduating from UCF’s School of Nursing this semester -- Eliany Torrez Pon is one of them.

  • UCF Nursing school wants to help w/ nurse shortage
  • Eliany Torrez Pon's owes her success to her parents
  • Torrez Pon will start working for Arnold Palmer in June

“I did accept a job at a pediatric hospital. It’s everything I’ve worked hard for. The great fulfillment is knowing that I am able to give back to the community and the tiny humans I was dedicated to studying for,” Torrez Pon said.

Torrez Pon’s parents were refugees who escaped the Nicaraguan Civil War. Then she was brought to the United States from Canada at just 1 year old. She was a DACA recipient and eventually became a U.S. permanent resident.

She worked hard to earn her degree.

“My family and I worked multiple jobs. We saved as much as we possible could because we know education came first. So if it was not for my parents and their sacrifices, I wouldn’t be here today,” Torrez Pon said.

UCF Dean of Nursing Marylou Sole says graduates like Torrez Pon are needed in the workforce.

“There is some data from Florida Center for Nursing that by 2025, we could be up to a gap of 25,000 nurses,” Sole said.

She told Spectrum News that UCF will continue to work hard to try to fill that gap.

As for Torrez Pan, she will begin her job this summer at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. She hopes to work in the emergency or ICU department.