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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: The change California must make right now to get more nurses working

UCLA Medical Center
At UCLA Medical Center, technicians put on gloves before entering the temporary coronavirus screening area on March 18.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The article about the dire state of nursing education in the face of COVID-19 and loss of clinical opportunities for nursing students was spot on.

The use of sophisticated virtual simulation in nursing education is supported by evidence. It mimics the reality of a clinical experience and gets students ready for practice.

Despite appeals from nursing educators across the state to temporarily change the Board of Registered Nursing limits on the acceptable percentage of simulation in nursing education, there has been no action. The lack of response in addressing this crisis appalling.

I was encouraged by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments urging efforts to increase graduation of nursing students. The change in limits on simulation is urgently needed across our programs, or nursing education will be at a standstill.

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As the surge of infected patients continues, more nurses are needed. The governor needs to act now.

Linda Sarna, Los Angeles

The writer is dean of the UCLA School of Nursing.

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To the editor: This is no time to be bungled in the bureaucratic red tape of regulatory mandates that make no sense given the pandemic with which we are now confronted. Healthcare professionals are needed now.

As the article notes, research from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has found “no significant difference in learning or clinical performance between students who did 25% of their clinical education in simulation and those who did 50%.”

In the same way that military officers can be trained for duty in 90 days and soldiers can be made fit to fight in a matter of weeks — largely through mock battles and wartime simulations — nurses can and should be readied for duty at the speed of need.

Ben Miles, Huntington Beach


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