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More than 120 UAB School of Nursing students and faculty helping fight COVID-19 at UAB Hospital

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:30 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Amid a nationwide nursing shortage, some UAB students are stepping in as COVID-19 cases increase across the state.

UAB Hospital is bringing in more than 120 students and faculty members from UAB school of nursing to make up for the staffing shortages and students said they cant wait to help.

“Being able to help out the hospital just means everything,” UAB School of Nursing student Joshua Carpenter said.

“It just means a lot that the hospital has asked us to help them,” UAB School of Nursing student Megan Waldrop said. “It just feels really good that we are able to lend a hand how we can.”

The faculty and graduate students are already registered nurses with degrees, but the undergraduate students are now getting hands on hospital experience before graduation.

“I think it is really going to help,” Carpenter said. “Getting to do this extra experience is really going to help us prepare for what is ahead when we graduate and become nurses.”

“We’ve had a challenge [with teaching in the pandemic] and they’ve been at a loss for some time, Nurse Practitioner and UAB School of Nursing Assistant Professor Summer Powers said. “We’ve been doing the best that we can, so they are super eager at the opportunity. This is what they are going to do in a couple of months.”

The faculty members and students with degrees will be on patient care teams. That means they will be assisting the other hospital nurses with whatever they need. The undergraduate students will be technicians and help with vaccine distribution.

“I’ve been working alongside these nurses for a long time during all of this,” Powers said. “They have been doing this for months. They are exhausted. It means a lot to me to be able to go and help our colleagues in this way. We aren’t rescuing them in any way, but we are supporting them.”

The faculty and students had training sessions to brush up on their skills, specifically how to care for COVID-19 patients.

“We first started with PPE,” Carpenter said. “PPE is a little more complex than how we first learned it when we first got into nursing school. There’s a lot more steps and a lot more detail.”

“We are doing our part,” Carpenter said. “Whatever that may be to positively impact this pandemic.”

The students and faculty from the school of nursing will be paid by the hospital. They said they plan to help until the need is over.

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