UVM's Nursing students ready for the frontlines

VERMONT - UVM has announced that 96 of their senior nursing students will be graduating early this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "We want to do what we can, we can't do a whole lot. But this at least is a little bit of something that demonstrates that we know what is going on," said Rosemary Dale, UVM's Nursing Department chair.


There are about 600 students in their nursing school which has programs at both the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level.  About 350 to 400 are in the undergraduate program, and 30 to 40 percent of those students are Vermonters.

Dale feels that all the students are absolutely ready to graduate early this year. "Without a doubt, all their classes are pretty well done. The classes that are in the liberal arts that they needed for graduation, we've checked with all those professors." Dale is very confident that all the students will be passing the course.

Although courses were not changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dale tells us that they have prepared each student for what is ahead. The idea of infectious diseases is built into the curriculum. "We've dealt with HIV, and continue to. Also tuberculosis, we deal with all sorts of infectious diseases." Although the breakout is larger than humans have seen in a long time, the students at UVM are educated completely on how to use their personal protection equipment efficiently and wisely.

The University got this plan well underway within 36 hours. "The students wanted to get out." The school has been working with the state board of nursing. The state board will issue students a permit to work as a professional nurse for 90 days so students may prepare and practise for the final exam. An ordinary graduate needs to take the test before starting work. But without the state boards corporation, this would have not been a possibility for the students at UVM. But this allows students to get their certification early.

UVM student, Claire Vanderpot shares, although the graduation ceremony for her class will not be taking place this year she is very excited to start her nursing career with the rest of her class. "We want to help people, and we have the skills to do it. I think a lot of us were really excited that the university was working with the state board of nursing and state of vermont to help us actually get out there."

Vanderpot expressed the love that students have for their patients along with their dedication to their field. There is a need to serve the community at this time due to the current situation. There are concerns when it comes to the students health and safety during this pandemic, but the students trust their hospitals to guide them through this time. "They're doing everything they can to protect their nurses right now, they'll support us on our education journey."

She believes that the 90 day period of physical patient care will help students prepare better for the final exam. "I mean you can read something in a text book all day long, someone can talk to you about how to drive a car. But until you drive the car, you're not going to be able to learn. It's the same thing with nursing. We want to be there for our patients."

When it comes to studying, she tells us that the students are able to download virtual practice tests so students can even out their time. But in Vanderpot's personal opinion, it's all about taking care of yourself first. "We have great support, and we're ready."