Spring Quarter Snapshot: Nursing and Medical Schools Team up to Keep Students on Track

Combined photos of nursing students with doctors.
Physician assistant students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis thank their clinical preceptors at UC Davis Health.

When COVID-19 hit, it not only disrupted life as we know it, but it threatened to derail students in health professions programs from graduating on time.

For UC Davis nursing leaders, there was never any question that students, on the cusp of their nursing careers, would be given a place at the hospital to finish up their educational requirements.

“Most of the health systems in the region who we rely on as partners for students’ clinical experiences told our students to steer clear until the worst had passed,” said Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. “Fortunately, we were able to tap into the vast enterprise of UC Davis Health and partner with our colleagues like never before.”

Cavanagh and the School of Nursing’s education team reached across campus to leaders and department chairs within the UC Davis School of Medicine. That’s when the predicament turned into an opportunity and teamwork and collaboration saved the day.

“The strength of UC Davis Health is that we are an academic medical center,” said David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health. “Our job is both to treat the patients who rely on us and teach the future generation of health care professionals.”

Within a few weeks, future advanced practice providers — physician assistants and family nurse practitioners on track to graduate this summer — reported for clinical rotations all throughout UC Davis Health clinics and departments.

As well, students in the Master’s Entry in Nursing Program found placements alongside managers and staff of 13 different units, on three different shifts, when other health systems turned them away.

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