Plymouth State University Nursing Students Graduate Early, Becoming First in New Hampshire to Join the Front Lines

Nurses will work as graduate nurses in region’s hospitals while awaiting licensing

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Plymouth State University (PSU) senior nursing students quickly adjusted to virtual simulations and other alternative methods to complete their final semester of clinical training. Today, these nursing students graduated early – a full month ahead of schedule – allowing them to begin working on the front lines in the state’s hospitals and other health care settings. The class of new registered nurses will work as graduate nurses until they complete the National Clinical Licensing Exam (NCLEX) later this spring.

“This was a true team effort – from our faculty who ensured students met all course objectives, to our government relations team who worked with the Governor’s Office, and our registrar who processed the degrees overnight, to the New Hampshire Board of Nursing that facilitated early licensure applications, to the students themselves, for their flexibility and diligence under stressful circumstances,” said Jean Coffey, Ph.D., APRN, FAAN, Director of the Plymouth State University Nursing Program. “Nursing requires teamwork and performing under pressure, and the challenges of this semester demonstrated to our students the importance of remaining calm and focused.”

Seventy percent of PSU’s 2020 nursing graduates expect to become licensed in New Hampshire, and many will begin working at the hospitals where they completed their senior capstone semesters. Marshall Mosher, a senior nursing student from Lyndonville, Vermont, completed his capstone semester at Littleton Regional Hospital, and will begin work in its emergency department as soon as his graduate nurse license is approved. “The route to graduation changed, but the goal was still the same,” said Mosher, who is excited to begin his nursing career.

The combination of earlier graduation and the New Hampshire Board of Nursing issuing temporary licenses to new graduate nurses will allow healthcare facilities to start the onboarding process weeks earlier than usual. “This is especially important now,” said Kim Force, Clinical Director of Inpatient Services at Littleton Regional Hospital. “PSU’s graduate nurses will be at the forefront, and we look forward to bringing them aboard.”

PSU’s nursing program is a four-year degree program in which students may graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). The program, which graduated its first nursing class in 2013, was originally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) as a new collegiate program, but earned full accreditation in 2018. Many PSU graduates begin their nursing careers at hospitals and other clinical sites in New Hampshire