Legislation allows Hondros nursing grads to help during COVID-19 fight
BY WAYNE BAKER
DAYTON DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
This week, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Coronavirus Omnibus Legislation (HB197) which suspends, for the period of the COVID-19 emergency, the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX) examination.
The legislation has opened the door for more than 200 new nurses, who are recent graduates of Hondros College of Nursing, that now may be able to enter the workforce by obtaining temporary licenses to aid in the national novel coronavirus emergency.
The school has five Ohio campuses in the Dayton-Fairborn, Cincinnati-West Chester, Cleveland-Independence, Columbus-Westerville and Toledo-Maumee areas, where students can earn a Practical Nursing Diploma and an Associate Degree in nursing.
Campus Executive Director for Hondros’ Dayton area campus in Fairborn Scott Stiver, told the Dayton Daily News that based on the feedback of local healthcare officials and their need for qualified nurses, this new legislation allows nursing graduates to practice under a temporary license, benefiting both patients and their communities.
“The Dayton campus has close to 40 new graduates who can now assist facilities fighting the influx of COVID-19 patients, instead of having to potential wait months for NCLEX testing to become available,” he explained. “With the support of our sister institution, American Public University System, which is one of the largest online universities in the country, we are well-prepared to continue educating future nurses to meet the demand in Dayton and its surrounding area.”
Lisa Nichols is a recent graduate of Hondros and she is ready to use her skills and education to help during the crisis.
“I am eager to get out there and help my community in this time of dire need. I have unfortunately been laid off from my current place of employment like so many others due to Covid-19,” she said. “This will allow myself and so many other new graduate nurses to enter the work force and lend a hand where help is so desperately needed.”
Nichols is currently waiting for authorization to take the nursing board exam, but process can take a while even under normal circumstances.
“It would be such an equally beneficial opportunity If I were able to begin working with a temporary RN license while I wait for my authorization to test for official licensure,” she said. “I am ready and able to help my fellow healthcare providers, given the opportunity.”
Autumn Mullin is also a graduate who wants to pitch in and do what it takes as a nurse to help combat the coronavirus.
“I think it’s great that they’re passing a legislation for new graduates to have a temporary license, allowing us to help in this crisis while building onto our careers, but at the same time it’s helping us maintain our skills we’ve worked so hard to learn,” she explained. “They always tell us ‘if you don’t use it you lose it.’ I know many people are scared about taking the NCLEX after getting the temp license. We’ve worked hard to get where we are, we just have to have faith.”
Hondros College of Nursing CEO Harry Wilkins, says the need for nurses is critical during the pandemic.
“We understand the great need for nurses, especially at this critical time, so we wanted to get graduates working and serving our communities as soon as possible,” he said. “We are well-prepared to continue educating nurses to meet the demand in our state.”