At least 69 students at New York University’s medical school want to graduate three months early to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine announced Wednesday it’s planning to allow senior students to graduate early in response to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “directive to get more physicians into the health system more quickly,” the school said in a statement.
Steven B. Abramson, an executive vice dean at the medical school, said the university asked about 122 students who are set to graduate this year whether they would be willing to start their internship at New York hospitals in April instead of waiting until July.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 69 students had volunteered to graduate, Abramson said.
“It is awe-inspiring and just says a lot about our students and their dedication to take care of people who are sick and to be part of a team of doctors taking care of these patients,” he said.
Gabrielle Mayer, a fourth year medical student who is planning to join the primary care/internal medicine program at NYU’s Bellevue Hospital, said it was an “easy decision” for her.
“Knowing that we are waiting to graduate and join the workforce, that we have the skill set that seems needed and valuable right now, it was such an easy decision to join my co-residents, co-interns,” the 26-year-old student said.
The school is now waiting for final approval from the New York State Department of Education, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
If NYU’s plan is approved, students will be placed in internal medicine programs or emergency rooms at NYU-affiliated hospitals in the area.
The students will be part of a team and “will never be asked to do something that is above their level of competence,” Abramson said.
More than 30,000 cases have been confirmed in New York and the majority of the state’s cases are in New York City. Plans are underway to build emergency hospitals and thousands of doctors and nurses, who are either retired or no longer see patients, have signed up to assist.