University of Miami's nursing school is sending nurses to South Florida hospitals amid shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting next week, dozens of UM nursing students will begin clinical rotations at five hospitals across Miami-Dade and Broward, starting with Palmetto General Hospital.
If the hospitals have their way, the students will choose to stay.
"They can work in a place where they practiced as students and that helps the transition go a little bit more smoothly, said Dr. Nichole Crenshaw, Associate Dean for UM's undergraduate nursing program.
Crenshaw hopes the new partnership between UM and Steward Health will help alleviate nursing shortages that have strained area hospitals since the start of the pandemic.
"We do have our first group of students rotating through Palmetto, one of those groups will be graduating in May, so there’s potential to be able to help hire students immediately upon graduation and help with some of the alleviation of stress that particular hospital may be feeling because of shortages," Crenshaw said.
Crenshaw said they've seen an increase in students getting into the medical field because they want to be part of the solution. And seeing first-hand what nurses encounter today will help them know what to expect.
"So we have conversations with them about what does it mean practicing in the midst of a global pandemic," Crenshaw said. "What are the needs of communities? What are the needs of our patients who get very very sick and come to the hospital and seek care? What does it mean for the nurses who are working really hard sometimes overtime to be able to meet the needs of the unit?"
UM students will also be doing rotations at North Shore Medical Center, Coral Gables Hospital, Hialeah Hospital and Florida Medical Center.
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