Senior medical student hopes to answer call for more healthcare workers amid COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam said Wednesday that the state is exploring ways to make it easier for qualified medical professionals to help out amid the coronavirus pandemic.

8News spoke with a senior studying health care, who says she is ready to pitch in her skills. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, however, the final-year student is facing delays in taking the exam to become officially licensed.

“Our country is facing unchartered territory and I became a PA (physician assistant) to help people and be part of something that’s bigger than myself and I want to be part of this fight with coronavirus,” said Kayla Jones, a student at South University in Short Pump.

In a FaceTime interview with 8News Wednesday, Jones states that she and many others were supposed to take their board exam in April. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the test has been postponed.

“We’re kind of in the dark right now,” Jones said. “We don’t know when we’ll be able to test, when we’ll be able to apply for a Virginia license, or when we’ll be able to practice.”

Jones told 8News her white coat ceremony, something she has dreamed about since starting her journey to become a PA, was also canceled.

Gov. Northam says he is reworking licensing procedures, which would be beneficial to medical students and the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.

“We need all hands on deck for our staff at medical facilities,” Northam said at Wednesday’s press conference.

Jones told 8News she is hoping the governor will change testing procedures soon, so she can lend a helping hand.

“I think there’s definitely potential for at-home testing with a webcam that’s proctored through audio and video,” she said. “I would definitely be amendable to that”

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