MSU Health Care Graduates Available Ahead of Schedule to Help With COVID-19 Pandemic

Michigan State University in East Lansing is making hundreds of health care students who successfully completed their program requirements available to Michigan health care systems earlier than usual in the face of COVID-19.
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MSU medical students
MSU is helping hundreds of its graduating health care students receive licenses early so they can help with the COVID-19 pandemic. // Photo courtesy of Michigan State University

Michigan State University in East Lansing is making hundreds of health care students who successfully completed their program requirements available to Michigan health care systems earlier than usual in the face of COVID-19.

As a result of continued efforts to increase the speed at which health care professionals can get into the workforce to assist with the pandemic, the health care systems soon will have access to 87 baccalaureate-prepared nurses, 61 medical doctors, and 213 osteopathic physicians. MSU is working with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in expediting the licensure of health care professionals entering the workforce.

“MSU has one of the largest training programs of health professionals in the nation,” says Dr. Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., executive vice president for health sciences at MSU. “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.”

Students in the colleges of human and osteopathic medicine usually start their residencies July 1. With this licensing option, graduates can enter the workforce this month. Graduating students have each completed eight years of college education and thousands of hours of clinical activity as part of their learning.

“The College of Osteopathic Medicine has been a leader among Michigan medical schools in the number of graduates that go on to practice medicine in the state,” says Andrea Amalfitano, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Around 65-70 percent of our osteopathic medical students stay in Michigan to practice. 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.”

Early licensing also is available for nursing students across Michigan. Nursing students are usually required to pass their NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed. However, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has set up a temporary license for RN students to allow MSU’s students to become available as practicing registered nurses before taking the exam. At the end of their program in May, the students will each have 740 contact hours through the nursing program.

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