Medical students helping alleviate hospitals' nursing shortage

Medical students training to be nurses.
Medical students training to be nurses. Source: ERR

More than 40 medical students are training as nurses to help treat coronavirus patients after the University of Tartu Clinic asked for additional help as the number of patients in hospitals rises.

The 43 fourth, fifth and sixth-year students are undertaking a five-day training course in nursing at Tartu Health Care College, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Wednesday.

Fourth-year medical student Kadri Ann Parmas said: "When I received this letter from the UT clinic, then I, as a medical student, immediately felt that I could help. This is such a primary and important thing, I think, for every medical student."

While many students at Tartu Health Care College already work as nurses in the clinic, these students from the University of Tartu are studying to be doctors and have not learnt the same skills.

This week they have been learning to take blood for tests and how to monitor patients in intensive care. Students said that a five-day quick course would not normally be enough.

Speaking about the students, lecturer at the University of Health Sciences Marit Kiljako told AK: "Their theoretical knowledge is very good, there is absolutely no doubt here, they are very strong in theory. At the moment, they can do what one nurse does alone using their initiative, under supervision of another. But I think after a couple of weeks of observations they will be able to do it themselves."

As elsewhere in schools, medical students are now studying online, so going to the coronavirus wards is almost the only way for students to work in a real hospital.

Fourth-year medical student Kätlin Rest said: "I think it's a big motivation right now, to go help, because students who are in clinical training, we should see and deal with patients right now. It's such an opportunity. There was no doubt about whether to go or not go."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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