Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) announced that its 192 final-year students will graduate early and be eligible to begin their residencies and provide critical health care as the world combats the global COVID-19 pandemic. The students would have normally completed their required courses in April and then graduated in May. Instead, 154 will graduate on April 10 and the rest will graduate on April 21.
“I have total confidence that our students are ready to help the cause,” said NJMS Dean Robert Johnson. “They have learned and trained at Rutgers and will be much-needed support in our nation’s health care system.”
NJMS students were matched to their residency locations March 20 and most residencies begin July 1. Residency locations, such as hospitals, will make the determination whether the students can begin early. 62 NJMS students matched to hospitals in New Jersey, and 58 matched in hospitals in New York, including 43 in New York City. First-year residents are critical members of care teams and are supervised by attending physicians.
“I am proud that Rutgers is able to do its part to act so quickly in the midst of the pandemic,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “Many of our students have already been volunteering to support COVID-19 efforts and I know these soon-to-be doctors will be greatly appreciated as they enter the workforce.”
The school is planning virtual graduation ceremonies, during which the newly minted doctors will participate in the recitation of the Hippocratic oath, a centuries-old tradition for doctors beginning their careers.
Rutgers’ other medical school, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is expected to follow suit in the coming days. Several other schools at Rutgers that train health care professionals are considering similar measures.
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