The demand for nurses continues to rise with the Coronavirus rapidly spreading across the country. The month of May is usually the month of many college graduations, but finding a post-grad job might involve more hurdles than usual for nursing students this year.
Final exams are nothing new to college students. Hours of last minute studying and calculating what percentage you need to get on your exam to pass the class. But what if this year your school told you that you have to drive or maybe even fly to the nearest metropolitan area to take your final exam, and as soon as you get back, you might even have to stay at home for 2 weeks? That could be the case for graduating nursing students in North Dakota. Some NCLEX licensure exam sites, including the one in Bismarck, have been closed because of coronavirus. Meaning students may have to travel to Fargo or Minneapolis to take the test. The state Board of Nursing is hoping to get local exam centers re-opened soon.
“It is literally changing hour by hour. I’m very hopeful that we’ll get this second testing center that we have in the state open,” Associate Director of the North Dakota Board of Nursing Tammy Buchholz said.
Another option for would-be nurses who want to get to work fast, is a temporary work authorization. That lasts 90 days before licensure is required., but that could pose another problem.
“One of the concerns is we have approximately 500 students we are anticipating to graduate who need to take the NCLEX. And so with the 90 day work authorization with one test center open, we have some concern about a bottle neck occurring where we might reach the end of that 90 days,” Executive Director of the North Dakota Board of Nursing Stacey Pfenning said.
Through clinicals, online classes and now finding out where they need to go to take their exams, one thing is for certain.
“We’re making it happen,they’re going to get their education and they will graduate because America needs them,” Dickinson State Nursing Department Chair Cheryl Lantz said.
Nursing students are required to pass their NCLEX exam before being allowed into the work force.