AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As the demand for nurses increases to help fight COVID-19, graduate nursing students at West Texas A&M University can now join the workforce sooner.
That is thanks to action taken by the Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday, March 21, waiving certain regulations on nursing to help bolster the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Those waived regulations will do the following across the state, according to a press release by Gov. Abbott’s staff.
- Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam.
- Allowing students in their final year of nursing school to meet their clinical objectives by exceeding the 50% limit on simulated experiences.
- Allowing nurses with inactive licenses or retired nurses to reactivate their licenses.
Because of the high demand for nurses, Gov. Abbott is allowing graduate nursing students to practice before taking their licensing exams.
“…People are expecting us to take care of them and expecting us to be there their most vulnerable times, but I’m excited as well, because this just brings on a whole new learning experience. It’s nothing that we have seen in our lifetime, and so I’m very excited and a little nervous as well,” said Kayleigh Fury, a second-year nursing student at West Texas A&M University.
Graduate nurses now have six months to test for their licenses instead of the standard 75 days.
Fury will soon join the fight against coronavirus.
“People who wait longer to take the NCLEX they typically have lower scores, or they don’t pass and that’s my greatest concern,” Fury said. “But I think with the proper study habits in place, over those extended days, that we’ll be able to be okay.”
“That’s what being a nurse is about is being flexible, and attacking the problems that we have and doing it with confidence and do it with excellence and I believe that WT prepares those nurses to do that,” said Dr. Helen Reyes, the head of the Nursing Department at WTAMU.
Dr. Reyes said she is confident in her nursing students’ ability to help tackle this pandemic.
“Although you would never want it, it brings the opportunity for a learning experience for students that they might never have with the safety net of being a student,” Dr. Reyes said. “…and I think that’s important to take advantage of this time to be a teachable moment.”
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