Mississippi University for Women nursing students prepare to answer the call amid healthcare worker shortage

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuesday, Mississippi State Senator Chad McMahan told reporters that the Senate Health Committee has held hearings discussing the possibility of relaxing some regulations to allow qualified nursing students to begin working in clinical situations with proper supervision.

As hospitals across the country search for solutions to the healthcare worker shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic, one option being discussed in Mississippi is increasing the role of qualified nursing students at facilities like North Mississippi Medical Center.

“See if we can work to relax some of the rules and regulations to allow nursing students to begin working in clinical situations with proper administration,” Senator McMahan says.

Mississippi University for Women senior Taylor Dodson says her father jokingly echoes that sentiment to her when he comes home from his job as an ICU nurse.

“He’ll come home from work and he’ll say, ‘Man, we needed you today’ and I’ll say, ‘Put me in coach, I’m ready,’” Dodson says.

It won’t be long until she gets that chance.

Dodson is an MUW nursing student who will become a registered nurse after graduating at the end of the 2021 spring semester. In November, the nursing program at MUW was ranked number one in the state and top 10 in the country by Registerednursing.org.

“I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to be working but I am just so ready to have the opportunity to serve my community since there is such a shortage right now,” she says.

Dodson has done clinical rotations at Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle and NMMC, where she has been responsible for the total care of a non-covid patient, from turning their beds to administering medication, all while under proper supervision.

“Our goal as students was to go in and really care for those patients and do as much as we could to really relieve some of the workload from the nurses on the floor,” Dodson says.

Just months away from entering the nursing field, Dodson says the coronavirus has not dampened her resolve.

“The pandemic has really only highlighted that calling more for me,” she says.

Senator McMahan says that any policy changes on nursing students would be up to the individual hospitals and that there are ongoing discussions between various facilities and nursing schools as to what they might be comfortable with.

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