Med School Graduation is Coming Early for Some Med Students Because of COVID-19

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Some medical schools around the country are set to allow fourth-year medical students to graduate early and enter the fight against COVID-19, if they choose to do so. The first school to explore this option was The Gross School of Medicine at NYU, following discussions with senior students who wished to know how they could help. 

Under NYU’s proposed plan, students who qualify in having met full eligibility for graduation will be allowed to do so in April, a full month early from the usual graduation date of May. Instead of entering their usual residency related to their area of specialization, they will enter temporary internships programs in internal medicine or emergency departments at NYU-affiliated facilities. 

The internships will be available for all students, regardless of their chosen area of medicine. Full compensation will be provided as usual, and their originally assigned residency programs would still start as scheduled when the time comes. 

Other schools in the area are also following suit with similar plans. Columbia University recently announced it would be moving its graduation date to April 15 for eligible students. Graduates who wish to help out amongst the COVID-19 crisis would be employed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital before moving onto their residency programs.

The plan to allow students to graduate early is still contingent on the approval of several state agencies, including the New York State Department of Education and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Physicians from around the US are looking to join the frontlines to help alleviate the pressure felt on the nation’s health infrastructure. This new force of physicians includes specialists and retired doctors who are answering the call for support. Many of them are receiving accelerated training to get them up to speed with using personal protective equipment and ventilators. 

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