Clinical Sites Will Require Vaccinations for SoCal Nursing Students

Some nursing students in Southern California may be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to complete their university credits, according to an email obtained by The Epoch Times.

Vaccinations will be required for the mandatory clinical portion of their education, the hands-on experience nursing students gain in a hospital or some other on-site equivalent. Students in the state must complete nearly 900 hours of clinicals to graduate and receive their registered nursing credentials.

Dr. Janeen Hill, Dean of the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University, told students and faculty that the “school’s clinical partners, including K-12 schools,” will require proof of vaccination to participate.

“Unless an underlying health condition prevents you from vaccination, I expect everyone to vaccinate,” Hill said via email earlier this month. “Students, please know, without proof of vaccination, you will be unable to complete the clinical aspects of your educational programs.”

Faculty and staff won’t be eligible to participate in any in-person labs, human-based research, and other medical activities unless they get vaccinated, she said.

“If you delay your vaccination and must sit out a rotation, this delay will be at your expense. Special arrangements to accommodate procrastinators, including issues surrounding financial aid and tuition, will not be made,” Hill stated.

Jamie Ceman, Chapman’s vice president of Strategic Marketing, told The Epoch Times that the requirement did not come from the university.

“I want to clarify that Chapman University is not mandating vaccinations for employees or students. … It’s the clinical sites that mandate the vaccine, not the university,” Ceman said.

In a follow-up email, Hill told students that the university’s programs are not mandating the COVID vaccination.

“College graduate programs do NOT have a requirement to show proof of COVID vaccination for admission into them. Furthermore, access to Rinker campus, to your classrooms, to lectures and labs is open to all graduate health professional students regardless of vaccine status,” she said.

However, she urged students in Crean College graduate programs to “choose to vaccinate.”

“Why? We are increasingly challenged to place students, who are not COVID vaccinated, in clinical sites and K-12 schools due to the requirements imposed by these sites,” Hill said. “These are sites which give you the clinical and school-based experiences you must have to graduate.”

Loma Linda University is also urging students to vaccinate, according to an unnamed source who did not wish to be identified.

“All of the students are afraid to talk now. They are afraid that there will be some measure of retribution if they speak,” the source told The Epoch Times via text.

A group of nursing students recently wrote a letter to the School of Nursing’s Associate Dean Brandie Richards, the source said, because they were concerned the requirement could affect their graduation.

“Essentially the students involved are completing their last year of nursing school,” said the source.

One of their training courses requires training from an outside vendor. “Said ‘vendor’ required the students to be ‘vaccinated’ to complete their training with them,” the source said.

“In some cases, professors were asking students to raise their hand if they have received their ‘vaccine’ yet, which is a violation of HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws.”

A spokesperson for the Loma Linda School of Nursing told The Epoch Times that the university does not mandate that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Some of the student’s (sic) outside rotation sites are requiring it,” the spokesperson said via email. “Students who wish to rotate must get the vaccine to enter those outside sites. If they do not want to get the vaccine, we will allow students to take a leave of absence and complete the rotation later.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Richards for comment, but did not hear back prior to publication.

Added the source, “What is most disappointing is the staff at Loma Linda denying the students health choices that they are trained to protect … the same rights of their future patients.”

Leanne T. Burke, the director of pre-licensure programs at the University of California–Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, told The Epoch Times that the COVID-19 vaccine is not currently a requirement for entry into the school’s programs—but they too are working with clinics that require it.

“We do work with clinical facilities that are already requiring it of the students sent to their facilities,” Burke confirmed in an email.

She said the school’s current practice has been to request students who are vaccinated to upload their documentation into their system, and then students who are already vaccinated are selected to attend clinicals at those locations.

However, “as things develop, it may be necessary to require the vaccine of our students” because of the clinical portion of their education, she said.

“If the vast majority of our affiliated clinical facilities require the vaccine, then we must require it of our students unless there is an allowed medical reason for declining it, as we do with other vaccines, and that is up to the discretion of the facilities whether they will accept a medical declination,” she said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nurses are required to have their hepatitis b, influenza, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and varicella (chickenpox) immunizations prior to becoming registered. COVID-19 is not currently listed as a requirement.

The Biden Administration said in a March 29 press briefing there would not be a federal vaccine mandate. However, employers can legally require health care workers to show proof of vaccines as a criteria of employment.

In January, a New Jersey nursing school mandated students must get the vaccine to comply with regulations of the hospital with which it was affiliated for the clinical portion of their education. If they didn’t, they would be forced to withdraw their spot in the program.

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