HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — The halt on clinical training for students looking to be nurse aides in Virginia has made it difficult for them to find jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The state froze the trainings in nursing homes earlier this month due to safety concerns. Terry Jones, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing, told the Virginian Pilot there is now a dilemma between letting students participate in the clinical training or relaxing the standards for entry.
The first option might put students lives at risk, Jones said. The federal government chose the latter route and temporarily waived the requirements to employ nurse aides.
Jones said this method might result in the aides entering the facilities unequipped. It also creates more liability for the companies that hire them.
“They’re ready to go into the facility and work,” said Russell Smith, co-owner of the nursing aide training facility Tidewater Medical Training. “And they can’t because of all the restrictions people are putting in place, not realizing that this is counterproductive.”
He said his training facility has about 45 students that can’t get hired because of the halt on clinical trials. One of the students from the facility, Gregory Wilburn, said he found it “frustrating” that the state was not allowing him to do the training.
Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, said officials are looking into measure. “We are exploring unique ways to provide critical training while protecting the health and safety of our students and patients,” she said.
According to Virginia’s Health department, at least 92 nursing home facilities in the state have reported coronavirus outbreaks.