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“I just feel a little lost”, licensing exam delays keep new nursing graduates from working – CBS Boston


NORTHBORO (CBS) – A graduate of St. Anselm College with a nursing degree, Natalie Rodgers is ready to get to work. She spent her last clinical rotation working with critically ill COVID patients in intensive care and is confident that she is well prepared for her career.

“It was scary at first,” she said, recalling those early days in the COVID unit. “I had to wear the full gown, masks, gloves, everything. But I really loved it.

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Instead of caring for the patients now, she spends her summer walking the family dog, volunteering at vaccination clinics with her mother, and studying for her licensing exam. The problem is, she doesn’t know when she will take this test.

“I’m just waiting to receive this email,” Rodgers told WBZ-TV.

The email she’s expecting is from the Massachusetts Board of Nursing Registration. This is how she will be informed that she can go ahead and schedule her licensure exam. But so far she and many of her nursing graduate friends haven’t heard a thing.

“I don’t have a job. I’m a new graduate, I see all my friends doing their new jobs. I just feel a little lost right now, ”she said, fighting back tears.

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“It’s frustrating for me as a mother,” said Mary Rogers, who is also a nurse. “I took my test within two weeks of graduating and started working right away. “

According to the state, the problem is due to the thousands of temporary licenses issued during the pandemic to take care of COVID patients. All of these nurses now need permanent licenses.

In an email, a spokesperson for the state’s health ministry told WBZ: “This unprecedented volume of pandemic-related licenses, coupled with the influx of new graduates, has resulted in delays of Licence.”

The spokesperson also said they only became aware of the problem about a week ago and the state was working to increase staff to deal with the backlog. They expect new graduates who have submitted all appropriate transcripts and documents to receive emails with information on scheduling their tests within seven days.

Natalie said she was ready to stop studying and start putting what she learned to good use.

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“I am definitely ready to start working as a nurse,” she said.

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