by: Hunter Hoagland, KARK/Ozarks First
Future nurses are bracing themselves for the front lines of the pandemic following a Friday announcement from state leaders.
Governor Hutchinson said in a press conference he will fast track 1,104 nursing students so they can alleviate the stress in Arkansas hospitals in just a few weeks.
He said the board will expedite their licensure. Hutchison also said their application fees would be waived. However, the background check would still happen and students would still have to pay that particular fee.
“We need to get those nurses on board quickly– we need them to help relieve some of the challenges we face,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “We want them here, we need their talent, and their convictions, and their heart.”
We talked to a nursing student who will graduate from school in December. She says she is thankful the Governor’s move will help her start work even sooner.
“Apparently we are in a bad state right now and they really need us,” said nursing student Alicyn Fields.
Fields says she has been in school since January and will graduate on December 11.
“This has been the craziest semester ever– I survived nursing school in a pandemic,” recalled Fields.
She says she is ready to put everything she has learned this year to use but is worried to deal directly with COVID-19 patients.
“They are putting us on the front line first so that’s kind of nerve wrecking– my fear and anxiety is through the roof on that part,” said Fields.
Fields says she has wanted to be a nurse since she was 8-years-old and thanks to Governor Hutchinson, she is one step closer.
“I do take pride in knowing that I can put my life on the line to help someone else,” said Fields.