BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the second time, the University of Maryland School of Nursing is allowing students to finish their studies early to get them out sooner on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eymmy Jimenez said she is eager to start her career in nursing even though her classmates weren’t expecting to begin working in the midst of a global pandemic.

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“If you tell us tomorrow that we’re going to start working with COVID-positive patients, I think most of us would be happy to do that,” Jimenez said.

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Now, she doesn’t have to wait much longer to get out on the job.

She’s one of 182 universities of Maryland School of Nursing students approved for an early exit into the workforce on November 30 in response to the pandemic, about two and half weeks earlier than the December 17 graduation date.

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“Most of us are not afraid,” Jimenez said. “We just really are ready to take the exam and start working.”

Long before the pandemic, the U.S. has been grappling with a shortage of nurses. Yet, the need for them now is even greater during the fall surge of COVID-19 cases.

Associate Dean of the school’s master’s program, Bimbola Akintade, said these students are ready to work and this is the second time the university has approved an early exit.

“This is not necessarily based on the student’s original curriculum. We’re only responding to a call from the governor,” Akintade said.

Much like in the spring when dozens of students left to work in jobs on the frontlines during the pandemic, most already have jobs lined up at hospitals in Maryland.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller