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MSU graduating health care students to aid in COVID-19 response

April 2, 2020
<p>A student walks into Olin Health Center on Feb. 27, 2020.</p>

A student walks into Olin Health Center on Feb. 27, 2020.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Michigan State granted graduating health care students early completion of their program requirements to aid in state health care systems in response to the rapid growth of the coronavirus across the state.

MSU is working closely with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, in expediting temporary licenses.

“MSU has one of the largest training programs of health professionals in the nation," MSU Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Norman J. Beauchamp, Jr. said. "We recognized early in the pandemic that additional providers would be needed. We actively pursued a pathway to make it possible. Adding more than 350 medical professionals to the health care workforce at this critical juncture will make a substantive difference in combating this virus. Together, everything is possible.”

July 1 is typically the day that students in the Colleges of Human Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine start their residencies, however students now have the availability to enter the field ahead of schedule.

“Around 65-70% of our osteopathic medical students stay in Michigan to practice," Andrea Amalfitano, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine said. "The decision to expedite our graduates entering the physician workforce sooner in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is something that furthers our long-standing goal, namely, to provide the state of Michigan great doctors who provide quality care for its residents.”

“Our newly licensed MDs are clinically experienced and well prepared to serve the needs of Michigan hospitals in this unprecedented health crisis,” Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine, said. “This initiative of rapidly increasing the number of physicians in our hospitals is a core part of MSU’s contribution to the COVID-19 effort in our communities throughout the state.”

Nursing students are still required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, but LARA has made available a temporary license for RN students before taking their exam as the need for health care workers spikes.

“Nurses are on the front lines of this pandemic, so it makes sense that the governor would create this opportunity for new nursing graduates to enter the workforce during this time of desperate need,” Randolph F.R. Rasch, dean of the College of Nursing, said. “We need all the help we can get to provide the necessary and increasing amount of care for Michigan residents, and this is a bold first step by the governor.”

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