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Unvaccinated nursing students face concern over meeting graduation requirements

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Masks being required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, affects everyone who steps foot on campuses like UWEC, UW-Stout and CVTC. Plus, vaccine requirements, outside of the academic institutions, are affecting a smaller population of students working toward the medial field.

“We thought we left that behind us and were ready to start our fall term very similar to pre pandemic,” said Chippewa Valley Technical College President, Sunem Beaton-Garcia.

She says their change in stance on mask requirement has not drawn as much negative reaction as seen in some other realms.

“We’ll continue to monitor health guidelines and CDC ... once we drop from high to moderate, we will go back to highly recommend but while we are still in the high category, we will continue to wear masks,” Beaton-Garcia said.

CVTC nursing student, Kaitlyn Lambeck says she isn’t agreeance with the mask policy.

Also, because of recent vaccine requirements made by area health systems, Lambeck’s decision to not get vaccinated is now interfering with her ability to complete clinical credits, off campus, needed to graduate.

“This is about our health freedom our school has preached since day one as nurses and future nurses we need to stand up for our patient’s rights whether nurses are choosing to get the vaccine or not they are exercising the same rights we are taught to respect in our patients,” Lambeck said.

Lambeck says she is meeting with the college leadership on Wednesday to explore other options.

“We are working with all our clinical sites for all of our students, and we will do everything we can do to have a successful fall semester, but we are guests in their facilities and need to abide by what they need for their patients,” said Beaton-Garcia.

UWEC Dean of Nursing, Linda Young says every day more and more hospitals are requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We have a very small number of students who are not and will not become vaccinated so we have to work with them in terms of their progression and if they can progress in the program this semester when the majority of sites are requiring it at this time,” said Young.

Young adds, the roadblocks that unvaccinated students are experiencing now, won’t disappear after graduation.

“To be a nurse you’re going to need to be vaccinated in order to practice in many settings and its all of the vaccine not only the covid vaccine … Some of the foundational courses in our program are science and so this is the time to draw on the science in terms of what is safe and what is not safe,” said Young.

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