Nursing students are graduating early to help out against COVID-19.

N@N: Ohio University Nursing and Medical Students Graduating Early

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Currently, hospitals are in a fight with COVID-19 and they need all the help they can get. That is why during a pandemic like this, Ohio University has come to the conclusion that graduating medical and nursing students need to enter the workforce as soon as possible.

The nursing and medical students graduating this year will earn their diploma on Saturday April 18th, a few weeks ahead of when the rest of their class graduates, so they can help out in the fight against COVID-19.

These early graduates will receive temporary licenses so they can get to work as soon as they get the license. Many of these students will stay in the state of Ohio, as seventy-two percent of the 227 total early graduates will be helping out in local hospitals.

Many of the students are confident, mostly thanks to how much experience they have gotten since coming onto Ohio Universities campus.

With our last part of our curriculum and clinical experience, we have to do a preceptorship so that is 168 hours that we have to complete following a nurse and eventually taking on their entire assignment,” early graduating nursing student Kendal Miller said. Meaning that not only have these students done their course work at school, but have learn on the front lines with professional nurses as well.

One reason the early graduates will be given temporary certificates is that the offices that would normally process that paperwork is also closed until the pandemic is over. However, these temporary licenses will not last forever, as they will need to get their full time license soon after the pandemic.

Senior Nursing major Kendal Miller feels prepared to enter the workforce with all her hours of training at Ohio University

“They are just letting us use this temporary licenses either 90 days past December 2020 or 90 days after the State of Emergency so we have that time to pass the Nclex.” Miller said.

The Nclex is an exam that nursing students need to pass so they can earn their full time licenses, but even with these added helpers, these students are urging the public to remain at home to help further reduce the burden on healthcare providers. 

“It has to be kind of an all or nothing deal,” said Jenna Melvin, another nursing student who will be graduating early,”We can’t just have some people practicing social distancing if some are continuing to have parties and stuff.”

Having more staff in these hospitals will help out immensely thanks to Ohio Universities decision, and Heritage college Executive Dean and Ohio University Chief of Medical Affairs officer Dr. Ken Johnson is fully confident in these students about to enter the workforce, stating that “When the state of Ohio and our health system partners asked how to get new doctors into the workforce more quickly, the solution was clear. Our medical students are ready now.”