University of Maryland nursing students set to graduate next month are being allowed an early exit from the program to address a shortage of healthcare workers in the state.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the early exit has been approved by the University of Maryland School of Nursing to encourage students to pursue employment at state hospitals and other public facilities where there’s been a short supply of nurses.
Around 161 bachelor’s degree students and 11 master’s degree students set to graduate on December 23 had already begun the exit procedure Friday. This will continue until the first week of December.
University officials confirmed that the move followed a request by Governor Larry Hogan, but the results of readiness assessments were also considered. This is the school’s fourth time allowing students to leave their programs earlier than the graduation date.
“Nurses throughout Maryland have served courageously on the front lines for over 20 months. I am proud of our entry-into-practice students for their willingness to support these efforts, and I applaud all of our students for their resiliency and for persevering in their studies during a difficult time marked by uncertainty and ongoing challenges,” said Dean Jane Kirschling in a statement.
Addressing the Nursing Shortage
The pandemic has greatly affected the healthcare industry, causing a surge of patients that continues to overwhelm the country’s nurses and doctors. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing will also be sending in nurses but will not follow the early-exit program.
“We take pride in educating our students to lead with strength and resilience by obtaining the full curriculum. Part of that is allowing them to gain all the knowledge necessary to graduate,” said Johns Hopkins’ School of Nursing Dean Sarah Szanton.
“Being a new nurse is a big endeavor and we want them to be the most prepared possible,” she explained.