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UW nursing students can earn tuition credit for working during pandemic

Equipment is seen in UW Oshkosh's nursing simulation lab Dec. 3, 2020. (WLUK/Katrina Nickell)
Equipment is seen in UW Oshkosh's nursing simulation lab Dec. 3, 2020. (WLUK/Katrina Nickell)
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OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- Nursing students at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will be eligible for tuition credit if they work to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 850 students in the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing (CON) can earn $500 of tuition credit during winter break.

For Chloe Jostad, it was never a question: she wanted to study nursing.

"I come from a long line of nurses and really admire the profession," said Jostad.

Even a global pandemic, that has overwhelmed her field, has not scared her away.

Jostad said, "I think made me want to be a nurse more and to care for patients more out there"

Now, UW Oshkosh is is giving their nursing students an opportunity.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students to work with other healthcare professionals to tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said CON Dean Judy Westphal. “The UW System is providing a win-win situation. Our students will gain valuable experience and individuals in the community benefit from the help students provide.”

The goal? To get the UW Oshkosh students out of the classroom, and into the real world to help make a difference during the pandemic.

"Well I certainly don't wish it on any student, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on the front line during a pandemic," said Westphal.

With Winter break approaching, Westphal says it's a great time for students to take advantage.

"It's during that time that they might have an opportunity to work in their local health care organization as a CNA," said Westphal.

There are about 4,000 nursing students in the entire UW System. Many of them are already putting their skills to use in hospitals, clinics and other facilities.

But the opportunity goes beyond working at the bedsides. When vaccines are readily available, Oshkosh nursing students can put their skills to use then.

Westphal said, "we'll work with our nursing students to be able to help provide vaccines to the community under the guidance a health care organization. Our students can also help in that manner."

And students, like Jostad who already works in a mental health care facility, thinks it's a great exchange.

"It will alleviate a bit of stress with paying for college, getting with tuition credit, I think it will help get experience in their line of work," said Jostad.

Westphal said there are many opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin for their nursing students to get their hands on.

The tuition credit will offer a new incentive at a time where healthcare workers are in high demand.

The Dean of Nursing at UW-Oshkosh says many details are still being finalized. But, the university will stay in communication with their students as they work on those plans.

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