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Nursing Students At Bakersfield College Will Help Lighten The Load For Kern Hospitals

Kern Medical
Kern County

This week Governor Gavin Newsom announced a program tobring more professionals into the medical field, including students and retirees. Bakersfield College also announced a similar pipeline to help its upper-level nursing students finish their education.

Shantelle Rubio is one of them. When she heard that her school was moving online to reduce the spread of COVID-19, she was stunned.

“I’ve been a full time student for the last four years and put a ton of blood, sweat, tears, everything into making my education my priority so I can get through it,” said Rubio. “To have it cut short less than 60 days before our graduation was super devastating.”

In addition to online classes, Rubio’s clinical hours were cancelled and she needed them to graduate. But this week, Bakersfield College announced that 69 nursing students will still finish their clinical training through externships in Kern County hospitals. 

Cindy Collier is the Acting Director of the Student Health and Wellness Center and a faculty member at the college. She says the students are so well-trained that the program will benefit the hospitals as much as the students. 

“It allows the hospitals to move the more experienced nurses to care for those who are really critically ill,” she said. Then the nursing students can care for patients with less critical issues.”

In addition to the experience, the hospitals will also be paying the students for their work. 

Rubio said she’s looking forward to working more intensely in a hospital setting. The program will pair every student with a nurse, and that means she’ll get to observe more cases, and how nurses manage multiple patients at a time. Rubio already knows she’ll start working at Kern Medical next week, and plans to take her licensing exam this summer.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.