COVID-19 cases are rising exponentially every day. U.S. confirmed cases have already reached 350,000. There’s a huge demand for hospital beds, masks, respirators, medication and medical personnel. Nurses are being recruited around the country to help cope with the pandemic—some in unusual ways.
States are waiving nursing licensure requirements.
Because we are facing a global pandemic, the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) is enlisting the help of nursing students. Business and Professions Code section 2727(d) states that nursing services may be provided by unlicensed persons during an epidemic or pandemic, ensuring that nursing students who help will not violate the Nursing Practice Act. The BRN developed a schematic that lists duties nursing students can assume, based on the courses they’ve completed. States that have waived nursing licensing requirements include Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and California.
California is taking strong measures to help during the pandemic.
Governor Gavin Newsom has called for fourth-year medical and nursing students to help with the surge of patients due to COVID-19. He is making it a priority to get nursing students working and is considering granting one-year provisional licenses to nursing students nearing graduation.
California is opening additional sites to treat infected people and has outlined a five-step procedure for nursing students and other healthcare workers to help during the pandemic. All workers will be paid and given malpractice insurance coverage.
(1) To be eligible to help, you must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Legally eligible to work in the U.S.
- Have a valid driver’s license or passport and Social Security card
- Hold a valid California license for clinical practice if you are a medical doctor
- Or be a medical or nursing student
- Have no negative actions against you if you are a licensed professional
(2) Register in the California Health Corps system.
(3) Once your registration is verified, submit an application.
(4) The Health Corps will review your skills, interests and preferred working location.
(5) Finalize hiring and notify you of placement.
Retired nurses are being asked to come back.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been urging retired nurses and doctors to put scrubs on again and come back to work; officials in Colorado, California and Illinois are doing the same. These professionals are volunteering their services, either to help relieve full-time staff or replace those who have contracted the virus.
However, there are considerations. A nurse needs to know about coronavirus, including the risks. Many nurses are in high-risk groups because of their age, so they are more likely to work behind the scenes. Another problem may be that their licenses have lapsed if they’ve been retired for a while, and they also may not be up to date in their medical knowledge and technology.
Some healthcare facilities are taking drastic recruiting measures.
Since no one really knows when COVID-19 will go away or even subside, states, hospitals, healthcare facilities and staffing agencies are frantically trying to recruit nurses. This is an overwhelming time for medical facilities.
They are facing challenges such as limited access to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and testing, staff exposure to the virus and massive numbers of patients requiring treatment. This is causing them to take drastic measures that go beyond waiving licensure and bringing nurses back from retirement:
- Increasing travel nurses’ pay and adding bonus quarantine pay. Staffing agencies in New York are paying travel nurses as much as $6,000 per week to take on nigh shift ICU assignments and offering quarantine pay.
- Bringing army retired nurses back in civilian hospitals. The army is calling retired nurses, anesthesiologists, medics and respiratory specialists to return to active duty to help.
- Proposing nurse pay rises. In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a $116M plan for hospitals that includes major pay increases for nurses: $1,000 per month for all Arkansas nurses and $2,000 per month for those who work with COVID-19 patients.
- Amending student nursing program policies. In the UK, student nurses can fulfill their full clinical requirements while serving as emergency helpers, as long as they follow specific safeguards.
Since there are still so many unknowns about the novel coronavirus, no one can say with certainty what the future will hold for nurses. Some things seem more apparent, however:
Jobs in healthcare will be more important than ever.
– Nursing and healthcare jobs will be considered “recession-proof.”
– Healthcare will need to embrace more technology.
– Nursing school will need to become more accessible to remote learners.
– There will be more telehealth opportunities because patients may opt to see the doctor virtually to prevent exposure to possible recurrent strains of the virus.
– Nursing will be an even more rewarding career choice.
As a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you’ll provide basic medical care to patients. This might include taking vitals, performing routine lab tests, prepping patients for exams or procedures and assisting doctors and nurses.
Enroll in licensed vocational nursing programs at Summit College; there are no waiting lists and no prerequisites. Your Summit College San Bernardino education includes a mix of traditional classroom instruction and hands-on clinical practice, and you’ll learn from professional instructors who use their experience to prepare you for real-world situations.
According to O*NET OnLine, the projected job growth for LVNs is 11 percent through 2028, higher than average for other jobs. In California, the need is even greater: 17 percent job growth.
Contact Summit College today. Make a difference in the world of healthcare.