BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Nurses are needed now more than ever, since they are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. But to keep nursing students safe, their hands-on clinicals and classes were cancelled.
Dr. Tara Hulsey is the Dean of WVU Nursing School and the West Virginia RN Board President.
“Due to limited Personal Protective Equipment and in relation to safety, face-to-face clinical experiences for our prelicensure programs in the state have been canceled for the time being throughout the state,” said Hulsley.
At the request of Gov. Jim Justice, the WV Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses made a change to the license requirements, so nursing students can graduate on time. Their clinicals can now be completed through simulation or telecommunications.
Some nurses, like Kimberly Stevenson, think this may actually come as an advantage to students.
“I think it will give them more opportunities to explore different things that they might not have in their local community. With the way things are these days, a lot of communities are switching to online telemedicine for their healthcare,” said Stevenson.
Hulsey said the change will not harm the students’ education.
“This hit us when a lot of our nursing programs in the state already had completed over half of the clinical hours in patient care facilities. Additionally, there are several years of national research to support the efficacy of simulated and virtual methods of delivery for clinical experiences,” Hulsley said.
Now, seniors in nursing programs across the state can start helping their communities as soon as possible.
“It’s definitely going to be beneficial for students to hurry up and graduate and pass their boards, and be able to work in the workforce along side everyone that’s fighting COVID right now,” Stevenson said.
The lift of the requirements is only temporary and for the time of the pandemic