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An FGCU parent frustrated over nursing school vaccination mandate

Posted at 2:35 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 14:35:40-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A local parent is frustrated after Florida Gulf Coast University nursing students' vaccination requirements.

She said the nursing students were told last week that they needed to be vaccinated because of clinical setting mandates.

“I was heartbroken for my child because ever since she was a little girl, she talked about how she wanted to be a nurse. I don’t want the COVID vaccination to be a barrier to meeting her carrier goal," she said.

The nursing program requires hands-on experience in clinical settings.

This parent reached out to Fox 4 for help. She was in fear of her daughter's enrollment so that she will remain anonymous.

“If you are unvaccinated, you are unable to attend clinical sites, so it means you cannot progress into the program," she said. “There is no alternative as to how my child is going to continue into the nursing program until she can get her COVID vaccination series completed.”

A series of shots that could take weeks or months to complete. That is time her daughter wouldn't be able to attend clinical.

She said when students were out with COVID-19, they were able to complete clinical online. She said that wasn't an option available to unvaccinated students.

“The School of Nursing has the ability to make up work online. They have a program called Shadow Health," she said. "The clinical instructor gives them assignments where they can complete those clinical hours online, which is acceptable to the Board of Nursing.”

She wants FGCU to provide options for unvaccinated students.

“Try to make some accommodation instead of telling them to change their majors or drop out of the program. That is unacceptable and inappropriate," she said.

All they can do is wait and hope that the nursing program will offer alternatives for students.

Fox 4 reached out to FGCU and they declined our offer for an interview about this mother's frustration. Instead, they provided a statement.

“Vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus are not required for FGCU students or employees. However, there are certain clinical partners associated with FGCU’s Marieb College of Health & Human Services and its School of Nursing that now require the vaccination. To fulfill clinical requirements set by our health program's accreditors, students may need to be vaccinated to meet the work requirements of certain clinical entities. We are working with our community partners and students on vaccination alternatives, such as proof of PCR-negative tests and constantly wearing fitted N95 masks while in clinical settings,"
Pamela McCabe, Coordinator of University Communications & Media Relations

She said she is waiting for guidance from the school.

"We are pretty much sitting at home waiting to hear what is next. We don’t know what is next," she said.

This parent also tells Fox 4 that she plans to reach out to Governor Ron DeSantis for help.