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Hundreds of nursing students sign up to help in the fight against COVID-19

Posted at 10:42 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 12:42:08-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah put out a call for nursing students to step up and help in the fight against COVID-19, and they responded.

Utah's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing tells FOX 13 that 407 nursing students from schools across the state have applied for a special temporary license that allows them to go to work in clinics and hospitals. It's providing a much-needed infusion of support as health care systems are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

FOX 13 first reported on the plan last month. The temporary apprentice license, created in November, allows nursing students close to graduating to go to work in their chosen profession. They won't be working directly with COVID-19 patients, but providing support and relief for more experienced nurses. The plan was created by Utah's Department of Health, Department of Commerce and Governor Gary Herbert.

Utah's colleges and universities have been supportive of the idea, as have industry groups that represent nurses. Hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, which impacts other aspects of health care. Intensive care units at the 16 hospitals across the state best equipped to handle coronavirus cases have been over 100% capacity this week.