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To help with ongoing crisis, UW System offers incentives for student nurses

By Patrick Lynn

Nursing students in the UW-System are being tapped to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, while earning valuable experience and a tuition credit, according to Tommy Thompson, the system’s president.

Thompson made the announcement earlier this week that the system’s roughly 4,000 nursing students will be able to earn experience and a $500 tuition credit during winter break—if they agree to work in hospitals and other health care settings and to help administer vaccines, including anticipated vaccines that combat COVID-19.

“Many nursing students are already working in health care. But the tuition credit will offer a new incentive at a time when health care workers are in high demand and as vaccine production is anticipated to accelerate,” Thompson said.

The UW System has also expanded COVID-19 testing in the state, having opened surge testing sites at all 13 of its universities in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health. The DHS provided 250,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid-results antigen tests—the first time a federal surge testing operation is using Abbott BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests that provide a result within 15 minutes.

Federal surge testing provides additional temporary federal support to areas that have seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

The testing sites are free and open to the general public, and so far more than 55,000 tests have been administered across Wisconsin. An additional 10,000 confirmatory PCR tests have been provided by the state Department of Health Services.

Residents can register for the testing at www.doineedacovid19test.com.

Under its testing program for students launched at the start of the semester, UW System universities have conducted more than 250,000 tests.

Thompson said the UW System will provide more details on the nursing incentive program in the near future.

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