From Graduation to the Front Lines: How You Can Recruit the Next Generation of Nurses

It’s all hands on deck in the healthcare industry. Communities and hospitals across the country are urgently calling for more nurses and doctors to help treat the growing number of coronavirus cases. As April begins, many nursing and medical students are getting ready to graduate next month, which means they will soon be joining the many brave individuals currently serving on the front lines of the pandemic.

Several high-profile medical academic institutions, including New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, are giving their students the option to graduate early, so they can start practicing medicine as quickly as possible.

If you urgently need more nurses and doctors at your facility to help treat coronavirus patients, learn more about early graduation requirements for seniors, so you can start recruiting the best and brightest in your community now.

The Growing Need for Healthcare Providers

The U.S. is now considered the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals across New York, Michigan, Washington state, and California struggle to keep up with the growing number of patients. NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently asked for an additional one million healthcare providers to help contain the pandemic in New York City. Many states and facilities have also started calling on retired healthcare workers as a way of filling in the gaps.

To help bolster the NYC health system, New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine recently announced it is letting some of its students graduate early. One student, Gabrielle Mayer, recently spoke to National Public Radio about her decision to graduate early. Instead of starting her residency in June as planned, she’s now scheduled to start work at Bellevue Hospital on Monday.

Once she finishes a week of onboarding and training, she will start caring for coronavirus patients in a limited capacity. She will start testing patients for the coronavirus and helping the facility better coordinate with local families. Mayer and her fellow recent graduates will be working as interns, but they’ll be serving on less medically acute floors than interns who have already been working at the hospital for 10 months.

The military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences recently bestowed degrees on 200 newly licensed healthcare providers, including 150 M.D. students and 33 practicing nurses, including clinical nurse specialists, family health, women’s health and mental health nurse practitioners. Graduation for military care providers is still six weeks away, but these talented professionals want to hit the front lines as soon as possible.

According to the military, recent graduates will stay in the national capital region to help with the military’s coronavirus response before moving on to residency programs this summer. The school held its first ever virtual commencement ceremony in March, denying these students the opportunity to walk across the stage. However, the sacrifice is a necessary precaution amidst the pandemic.

LCME Announces Early Graduation Principles for Final-Year Medical Students

Many medical and nursing institutions are considering implementing similar early graduation programs to help get more healthcare providers in the system. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), an accrediting body for educational programs at schools of medicine in the United States and Canada, recently unveiled its “Guiding Principles for Early Graduation of Final-Year Medical Students” to help institutions make sure their students are up to the task at hand. Institutions can use this information to determine which final-year students are eligible for early graduation.

If you are in need of additional nurses and doctors, reach out to local nursing and medical schools to see if they are interested in having their students graduate early. If their students meet specified requirements, they may be able to start working at your facility in just a few weeks.

The Decision to Graduate Early

Going from the last year of medical school to serving on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic may be overwhelming for some students, for whom the decision to graduate early can be extremely personal. They may feel ill-equipped to deal with such a stressful situation once they get out of the classroom. As you go about recruiting final-year med students, remember that just because someone has met the education requirements doesn’t mean they are prepared to serve on the front lines.

Schedule plenty of time for onboarding and training when bringing on recent graduates during the pandemic. Help them serve in a limited capacity at your facility until they feel more comfortable taking on more responsibility.

Work with local academic institutions to learn more about their curriculum and how recent graduates may be able to help out at your facility. Some may have the skills to interact with virus patients directly, while others may need additional training.

A new generation of nurses and doctors is gearing up for what could be the defining moments of their careers. Use these early graduation guidelines to help final-year med students find a place at your facility.

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