Restrictions lifted on students caring for COVID-19 patients

November 19, 2020

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On Wednesday, Nov. 18, UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, and Nebraska Medicine CEO Jim Linder, MD, sent the following message to all UNMC students, faculty and staff:

Dear UNMC Students, Faculty and Staff,

In March, UNMC announced that its students would not care for patients who had been diagnosed with, or were being investigated for, COVID-19. The policy also extended to students scheduled for learning experiences outside of Nebraska Medicine clinics and hospitals. At that time, the limited amount of personal protective equipment was a major factor in our decision.

Today (Nov. 18), UNMC is lifting that restriction and will allow students, in a supervised manner, to care for COVID-19 patients.

Why the change? The virus is not going away, and students entering clinical practice upon graduation should have experience in caring for patients with COVID-19 infection. As an academic health science center and leader in treating highly infectious diseases, it is UNMC and Nebraska Medicine's responsibility to train future health care professionals to safely care for all patients using safe practices learned in an educational setting. Other health conditions affecting these patients also can be part of the learning experience.

We now know much more about COVID-19, including how to keep health care workers and our students on clinical rotations safe. In fact, reports show that our front line workers correctly using appropriate personal protective equipment in hospitals and clinics are at a much lower risk of infection than they are when out in their community.

Again, we want to assure you that UNMC and Nebraska Medicine are fully committed to providing an excellent experience for our students while ensuring their personal safety and the safety of their extended family while recognizing the importance of the current learning environment.

If you have any questions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact Phil Covington, UNMC associate vice chancellor for student success via email or at 402-559-2792, for more details.

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