Although many nurses have adjusted to a “new normal”, hospitals and facilities are still in demand for nurses and other healthcare workers. The shortage is at an all-time high and now hospitals are allowing student nurses to start working early.
In Maryland, the Governor encouraged colleges and universities to grant an early exit for students who have satisfied their graduation requirements. This means that the hundreds of students that have successfully finished their program early, will be able to join the front lines to help with the COVID-19 crisis.
HOLLIBLU THOUGHTS:Although these students are eager and want to help, is it safe? Many graduate nurses (GNs) accept positions in hospitals before passing their licensure exam. However, there is an understanding that the GN will pass their boards within a set amount of time. There is also training and orientation involved. Every program is different, but the GN will usually get six months to one year of training before they are permitted their own patient assignments. They are under the supervision of another experienced nurse and are allotted time to learn, make mistakes (not really), grasp concepts, hone skills, etc.
I remember preceptors telling me that it would take a year or more for me to feel comfortable and confident in my abilities as a nurse. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but the majority of students are not 100% confident coming out of school. A lack of hands-on training due to the pandemic may very well be a factor. It did take a while for me to feel comfortable in my practice and when I think about the extreme stress and anxiety that goes along with COVID, I fear for the student nurses being thrown into this setting. The patients and their care are also a concern. Are they receiving the most competent staff?
Seemingly, administrators aren’t as concerned when it comes to emergencies. Maybe they just want all hands on deck. In this case, I can only hope the students remember their rights and responsibilities and are aware of the laws in their state. And I hope that they aren’t put in compromising positions that will affect their license before they obtain it.
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Check out the original article here.