D’Youville College plans to graduate healthcare workers early to help battle COVID-19

Mar 24, 2020

As New York’s hospital system braces for the arrival of more COVID-19 patients, D’Youville College in Buffalo announced plans to move up graduation for students in some high-needs healthcare fields.

About 110 undergraduate nursing and pharmacy doctorate students will be the first D’Youville students to graduate early and join the workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic, the university said Tuesday.

D'Youville College plans to move up graduation for students in some high-needs healthcare fields.
Credit D'Youville College

“Here we have a group of students who are wanting, who are capable, and, more importantly, who are qualified to immediately join the workforce and help provide care,” said Dr. Canio Marasco, dean of D’Youville’s School of Pharmacy.

Marasco also said many of his 62 pharmacy students—about half of whom he now expects to graduate within the next two weeks—were already volunteering in facilities caring for COVID-19 patients.

“At the same time, you see on the news, you have our healthcare providers asking for protective equipment because if they were to go down, who was to replace them?”

His students, he said, are “waiting in the wings” and enthusiastic about the university’s decision.

“They’ve been anxious to participate, to help, and so us giving them the ability to graduate early [and] receive their license early is, to them, a wonderful benefit,” Marasco said.

D’Youville is also encouraging the new grads, a cohort that is set to include 81 nursing students, to stay in New York by providing a $1,000 bonus to be used for rent or a down payment anywhere in the state.

“We want to help make it possible for our graduates to live and work in Buffalo after their graduation,” said D’Youville President Dr. Lorrie Clemo. “If they are willing and able to help our community through this unprecedented healthcare crisis, then we are certainly willing to help them establish roots and become New York’s much needed future generation of healthcare providers.”

The D’Youville decision also came as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo repeated his calls for retired medical professionals to return to the workforce and help combat the new virus.