In response to the unprecedented public health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Toledo is allowing more than 275 medical and nursing students the option of graduating early.
Students in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and the College of Nursing who have completed all course work, met their degree requirements, and been approved for early graduation are eligible to receive their diploma starting as soon as April 17.
Students not graduating early will receive their diplomas at UToledo’s previously scheduled commencement ceremonies, which are May 9 for the College of Nursing and May 15 for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.
The option for early graduation was approved Monday by The University of Toledo Board of Trustees with the support of President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Karen Bjorkman.
“The College of Medicine and Life Sciences is committed to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “We are proud of our graduating medical students that will be joining residency programs in our region and across our nation. These soon-to-be young doctors will play an important role in meeting people’s healthcare needs.”
In order for a fourth-year medical student to graduate early, they must also enter their residency program early. After receiving their diploma, they must apply for and receive a medical license in the state in which they will be practicing.
Nearly half of UToledo’s fourth-year medical students matched with residency programs in Ohio. Students also matched in some of the hardest hit states, including New York, Michigan and California.
Nursing graduates also have the ability to quickly begin practicing. The state of Ohio recently updated its regulations to allow newly graduated nurses to receive a temporary license before taking the national standardized licensure examination that has been delayed due to the pandemic. The state of Michigan has taken similar steps.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge need for nurses, both in our region and across the country,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing. “Many of our students have expressed interest in getting out into the field ahead of the predicted surge to help relieve the strain on our healthcare system. These students are ready to practice now, and we’re proud of their eagerness to make a difference.”