In the midst of NCSBN ensuring that candidates still had access to NCLEX® testing sites while following CDC guidelines, another obstacle emerged to ensuring that newly licensed nurses could enter the workforce. Hospitals and other health care facilities closed clinical experiences to nursing students. Without these vital clinical experiences nursing students are unable to meet their program requirements and are not eligible for graduation.
Cognizant of this issue, NCSBN and the leaders of nine* other nursing organizations issued a policy brief that called for practice/academic partnerships between health care facilities and prelicensure registered nursing (RN) and practical/vocational nursing (PN/VN) programs across the country during the COVID-19 crisis.
Under this model, students hired by a hospital and considered paid employees earn clinical credit through their educational institution, with faculty to oversee and evaluate their skills. This innovative initiative has bridged the gap and made it possible for nursing students to gain first-hand experience in emergency management, public health and interdisciplinary teams as well as the typical clinical rotations throughout the hospital. This prepares the next generation of nurses in ways that were not possible before. Even more valuable during this crisis, front-line health care professionals have valuable, skilled support provided by these students.
These partnerships have enabled students to graduate on time, take their NCLEX and become licensed nurses joining the fight against COVID-19.
*National League for Nursing, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc., Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National Student Nurses' Association and American Nurses Association