West Texas A&M nursing students can now help fight COVID-19 sooner

West Texas A&M nursing students can now help fight COVID-19 sooner

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - To better equip medical centers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is waving several regulations for nurses.

Graduated nursing permits typically last 75 days for a graduated nurse to take the test to become a registered nurse.

Now these permits will last up to six months giving graduates a chance to take their test when available.

“As a graduate nurse with a GN permit, they can take patients, they get meds. They can do what a nurse can do, they just have to be supervised by another nurse,” said Dr. Helen Reyes, department head of nursing at WTAMU.

The Governor has also waived the amount of hours students need in real life clinicals, as opposed to simulated clinicals, making it possible for seniors to still graduate this spring.

“They are going to get to come in here and help immediately, vital signs, asses the patients, communicate with your superior or whoever’s in charge, give a report on these patients. I think it’s a really good time for the students to really be excited about coming in, because they have a chance to be active right away instead of just waiting and watching,” said Dawn Ehler, LVN at Family Medical Center in Canyon.

Although this pandemic is creating an opportunity for new nurses to learn first hand, it doesn't mean it is any less scary for nurses starting their career.

Nursing students at WTAMU graduating this year could find themselves inside a doctors office or hospital as soon as the first few weeks of May.

“It is a little nerve wrecking, because people are trusting you with their lives and in their most vulnerable times. They are trusting you during a pandemic. I mean, I, as myself, I am a little bit nervous, but in nursing school they have prepared us for the unexpected and the unknown,” said Kayleigh Fury, a senior nursing student at WTAMU.

Area nurses at Family Medical Center in Canyon say this is a great time for graduate nurses to learn, and their staff will be right beside them the entire time.

“We’ll go over education, we’ll go over PPE, we’ll go over COVID signs and symptoms, even though, hopefully, at that point we will see a decrease. Again, just to put their minds and their hearts at ease,” said Chelsea Dodgin, RN at Family Medical Center in Canyon.

Part of this wavier by Governor Abbott also allows nurses with inactive licenses or retired nurses to reactivate their licenses.

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