Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

University of Delaware students are putting in time at Bayhealth Medical

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

The University of Delaware and Bayhealth started a new partnership after the state’s recent COVID surge at the beginning of the year.

Since January 21st, 32 University of Delaware students have been volunteering at Bayhealth’s Kent and Sussex campuses.

This partnership came during a time when the First State was experiencing extremely high COVID numbers, and the hospitals were seeing an unprecedented number of patients.

Christopher Dukes, Senior Director of Laboratory Services at Bayhealth Medical, says UD students and staff worked very quickly to get Bayhealth the help they needed.

“Basically from the first conversation we had with them about this potential partnership, within just over a week we had students in our facility that were engaging and providing services and assistance to our staff, and testing for our patients when it came to the lab,” said Dukes.

23 senior nursing students and 9 medical laboratory science students are among those volunteering. Dukes worked closely with UD's lab science students, and said those 9 extra sets of hands in the lab were invaluable during a time when they were experiencing a huge increase in patient volume.

“We had some of the students that were doing specimen processing functions, where the specimens of all types that come to the laboratory, they get received to the computer system so we can do the testing on those specimens. Hundreds of hundreds of tests per day of specimens that come in,” Dukes explained. “So they were manning that function, and providing that assistance on the front end. And we had other students that were actually trained to do some of our covid testing and some of the other testing in our microbiology department.”

Bayhealth often hosts UD students for their clinical rotations, but this partnership allows even more students to spend time in a hospital setting to gain hands-on experience and make a positive impact in their community.

Both Bayhealth and UD hope more medical health students stay in the Delaware post graduation, especially in Sussex County where there’s an ongoing nursing shortage exacerbated by the pandemic.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021