New nurses get early license to help during COVID-19 crisis

Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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With an unprecedented stress on our nation’s healthcare system and some worries it’s only going to get worse, there is help on the way.

And now, help is coming a little earlier than expected.

They were students just a few weeks ago at Hondros College of Nursing in Maumee. But now they’re headed into the field after getting special permission to be there.

Trish Pacheco might not have a lot of time for calls in the future. She’s about to become a registered nurse after years as an LPN.

"Then I finally went in and made time for my RN," said Pacheco, who completed her course work from Hondros College of Nursing.

Pacheco and other students have received a special wavier, allowing them to get into the field with a temporary license. This as they wait to take their final boards and attain their permanent certification.

“They are fully ready to go out into the community and function as a registered nurse,” said Dr. Deborah Mattin of Hondros College.

Dr. Mattin has never seen a medical situation like this. She knows the need is there and is glad the students can start helping people as they await the last certification.

“The standards at Hondros are extremely high and our students are ready to go out and be nurse generalists the day they walk out of building," said Dr. Mattin.

Pacheco and her classmates are full trained in their nursing specialty. School is done, maybe quicker than they thought. Now the dangerous world of COVID-19 awaits.

"Just the stress of entering the hospital as an RN. You have all of these things running through your head that you have to do right and you need to know this procedure and that procedure. How do I do this and what's this medication for, but now you have this added stress of what am I touching? What am I breathing? What am I taking home?” said Pacheco.

Those nurses could be headed to places like long term care, nursing homes or hospitals, even facilities that are seeing that flood of COVID-19 cases.