As CA scrambles for healthcare workers, nursing schools call for flexibility to let 10,000 get licensed

California
Nursing students and instructors await a shift change in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica in 2014.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Nursing students and instructors await a shift change in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica in 2014.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Amid a frantic scramble to open hospitals and increase the number of healthcare workers, California nursing schools are warning state officials that an estimated 10,000 nursing students are in jeopardy of not graduating, meaning they will be unable help evaluate and treat patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under state rules, nursing students must spend a substantial part of their clinical education in hospitals, but they are barred from doing so now because of hospital lockdown orders. Unless the state loosens its rules, students set to graduate in coming months will find it impossible to become a licensed nurse.

As a result, public and private nursing schools are pleading with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s Board of Registered Nursing to allow greater flexibility in how students meet their clinical education requirement after many hospitals discontinued training placements because of safety concerns and to focus on the tidal wave of COVID-19 patients.

“I went through 19 months of training and the end is near and everything is coming to a screeching halt,” said Ryane Panasewicz, 27, who attends nursing school at West Coast University’s campus in Anaheim. “Keeping graduating nursing students out of the healthcare system at this time will make problems worse.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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