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As Coronavirus Peak Nears, Ohio State Lets Some Medical Students Graduate Early

A group of Ohio State University medical students will graduate early this month in order to help patients in the continuing coronavirus pandemic. 

Ohio State's Board of Trustees approved the early graduation of 54 of the school's 184 medical students. The board says they have met all graduation requirements and can start working in the health care field immediately. 

“I certainly don’t feel I have the length of experience or the depth of knowledge, but I do feel comfortable in performing some of those basic patient care tasks,” says graduating medical student Paige Hackenberger.

Hackenberger and other students will receive their Doctor of Medicine degrees on April 12. The original graduation for other medical students remains May 3.

The Wexner Medical Center says it plans to hire some of these new medical professionals if there's a surge of COVID-19 patients, as state and health officials predict.

Health care workers have faced many stressful weeks treating patients. Hackenberger a Michigan native, says she understands there are growing needs across the country.

“I know several states outside of Ohio have also been recruiting early medical student graduates or even those who are still completing their medical school training, just to be a backup resource for personnel,” Hackenberger says.

Hackenberger says the harrowing demands on health care workers hasn't made her fear the profession.

“I have been trained to follow medical protocols in a way through Ohio State’s College of Medicine that I can be protecting myself if I have the appropriate equipment,” Hackenberger says.

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