Nursing students itching to get in the field

MEDFORD, Ore. – While many college seniors head toward an uncertain job market, students going into health care are finding opportunity.

Hospitals around the nation and even here in the Rogue Valley are hiring nurses to help deal with an influx of patients amid the coronavirus fight.

Rogue Community College nursing students tell NBC 5 they need at least 16 different 12-hour shifts in the field. But right now getting that type of access is difficult.

Matthew Moxley is a senior nursing student at RCC. He says he’s ready to jump right into the fight against coronavirus.

“I know that I’ll be right there with everybody else putting my elbows in it,” said Moxley.

But while some college students are figuring out how to do spring quarter online, Moxley’s concern is about getting experience outside the classroom.

“I personally was actually set up to go work in the emergency room. So it’s a little bit heartbreaking for me to lose that opportunity,” said Moxley.

But as the saying goes, as one door closes another opens. RCC Nursing Department Chair Paula Calcaterra found the new door in a virtual program.

“This was something I was looking to do over the next 2 to 3 years and slowly introduce. I wasn’t looking to do it in two weeks, but we managed,” said Calcaterra.

Calcaterra says the virtual practicum will be as close as it can be to direct patient care.

“You will have virtual patients who actually answer your questions and you’ll have to assess,” said Calcaterra.

And it ensures students like Moxley will graduate at a time when he is needed the most.

“It brings hope. There’s a lot going on, we need to get out there,” said Moxley.

Moxley and his class are set to graduate in the middle of June. At that point the only hurdle to becoming a registered nurse in Oregon is the nursing’s exam.

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