Ohio University

OHIO's School of Nursing to allow seniors to graduate early, join workforce in fight against COVID-19

OHIO's School of Nursing to allow seniors to graduate early, join workforce in fight against COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to tighten its grip on the nation, many hospitals and healthcare workers on the front lines are either experiencing, or preparing for, a surge in patients.

Help is on the way, as 153 School of Nursing students within OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions will join the professional ranks across Ohio and beyond later this month.

The State of Ohio recently updated regulations, allowing nursing students nearing graduation to earn a temporary license and begin serving in a professional capacity more quickly.

“Ohio University’s nursing graduates are well positioned to help alleviate the current healthcare workload,” said Dr. Deborah Henderson, director of OHIO’s School of Nursing. “Most importantly, our students are prepared and ready to contribute thanks to the quality education provided by our knowledgeable faculty.”

OHIO’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees will be conferred on April 18 to seniors who meet the necessary course requirements; the University’s graduation date for other seniors is scheduled for May 2.

Henderson noted that the majority of the School of Nursing’s early graduates will continue working and contributing within the State of Ohio.

“Qualified nurses are essential to our state’s ability to test for COVID-19 and provide patient care,” said CHSP Dean Randy Leite. “This unprecedented circumstance has provided Ohio University with the opportunity to enact a creative and collaborative solution that provides needed healthcare support while ensuring that the standards and rigor of our nationally recognized nursing program remain intact.”

Last month, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197, which included permission for the Board of Nursing to grant temporary nursing licenses to qualified applicants in the fields of registered nursing or licensed practical nursing.

The temporary licenses are valid either until 90 days after Dec. 1, 2020 or 90 days past the duration of the imposed state of emergency. The bill delays the NCLEX exam requirement for nurses but requires that all other training and educational conditions are met. 

Dr. Amy Acton, director of health for the Ohio Department of Health, has stressed the need for increased nursing support during the state’s daily news conferences and called for early graduation of nursing and medical students wherever possible within the state.

Henderson noted that every medical professional plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health and wellbeing of those in need of care – especially during a pandemic.

“The State’s proactive decision-making has allowed Ohio University and its students to positively impact the healthcare workforce a few weeks earlier than originally anticipated, and we’re ready,” Henderson said. “This is why our world-class nursing faculty prepare students the way we do – because every person, every day can make a difference.”

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Media Contact: Associate Director of Communications Dan Pittman at pittmand@ohio.edu or 740.566.0212.

About the College of Health Sciences and Professions
Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is a place where innovative education and research happen every day. Each year, more than 3,600 students graduate from our Athens and Dublin-based campuses prepared to serve as passionate professionals who are ready to change the world. As one of the largest health-focused colleges in the country, CHSP has a growing portfolio of degree and certificate programs housed in six academic units: the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness; the School of Nursing; the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; the Department of Social and Public Health; the Department of Social Work and the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies. All six connect faculty and students across multiple disciplines to explore the best approaches to addressing health and wellness in various settings. Find out more at: www.ohio.edu/chsp.