OXNARD, Calif.-- Nearly 100 nursing students at the Career Care Institute in Oxnard won’t be able to graduate on time. Their program is one of many across nation now paused because of the pandemic.
“The California Department of Public Health and the Board of Vocational Nursing, and Governor Newsom has also said that student nurses are deemed essential,” said
Jessica Colborn, who is the director of nursing at Career Care Institute in Oxnard. “The problem we are seeing within Ventura County is that the Ventura County Director of Public Health is saying that the skilled nursing facilities are not safe for our students.”
Nursing students need 976 hours of training to graduate, and 488 need to be hands-on inside hospitals. But now many can't get their final hours.
“Due to this problem students are being put on a leave of absence or holding the program because we do not have anywhere to take them,” said Lisa Kay Hubbard, who is the clinical instructor at Career Care Institute.
The board that oversees nursing programs allowed classes to continue virtually, as long as half of the program is met with hands on experience.
“All of us as nurses understand that it is critical for students to have actually patient care in order to be quality nurses,” said Colborn. “We can’t do everything virtual.”
It's frustrating for hundreds of nursing students. Their careers are now on hold.
“Myself and many other students save for years just so we can go to nursing school, but with the program potentially being paused that creates so much financial uncertainty for students who are already financially strained,” said Thomas Doherty, who is a student at Career Care Insititue.
Many feel this will lead to bigger issues.
“That means we are going to have a nursing shortage at some point,” said Hubbard. “I mean we already have one and it is just going to become worse.”
“Our students can offer a vital resource to these understaffed and overwhelmed facilities, but we are being blocked access,” said Colborn.
Ventura County Public Health says they are working on a solution.
“We really want to see in the new orders how we can help with the situation to help the students get their final hours,” said Rigo Vargas, who is the director Ventura County Public Health Department. “We are actively exploring that.” .