In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s widespread community transmission across the state and surging metrics across the country, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s request, and an assessment of students’ readiness, the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) for the second time has approved an early exit for entry-into-nursing students who are scheduled to graduate Dec. 17, 2020. In an effort to bolster the nursing workforce, students approved for an early exit can begin working as nursing graduates.
All graduating Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students will exit early Nov. 30, provided successful completion of fall courses. Graduating entry-into-nursing Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) master’s students will be given the option to exit as early as Dec. 2. To be eligible for the early-exit option, CNL students must meet specific GPA and academic program requirements.
Hogan’s public health surge plan has called for allowing hospitals that are full or nearing capacity limits to transfer patients to hospitals that are equipped to provide them with the care they need, helping to alleviate overcrowding in hospitals. The School of Nursing has collaborated with the chief nursing officers of major hospital systems and ascertained their need for and interest in hiring nursing graduates and designed a protocol for linking UMSON’s early-exit students to these institutions: University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Health System, MedStar Health, Anne Arundel Medical Center (Luminis Health), and Holy Cross Health.
“We are committed to once again partnering with Maryland’s health care systems to support them as they navigate the increasing demands for personnel during this latest phase of the pandemic,” said Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “School of Nursing students eligible for this early-exit option are fully prepared and equipped to help meet the state’s needs by serving our health care institutions as nursing graduates.
“I applaud those students selecting the early exit option for their willingness to contribute their skills during this time of increasing urgency and sincerely thank all of our students — whether continuing their studies or preparing to graduate — for persevering in their education and preparation for nursing careers despite challenging and sometimes difficult circumstances.”
UMSON will provide a letter to participating students that they can provide to prospective employers stating that they have met all the program requirements and have qualified for and taken an early-exit option from UMSON. The school has 138 BSN and 44 CNL students who are qualified to participate in the early exit.
In April 2020, UMSON had 62 BSN and 45 CNL students who took an optional early exit before their May 14 graduation date.