PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Many college students are preparing for a virtual graduation, but more than 100 medical students have already graduated from OHSU early, and now a handful are heading straight into the medical field to help during the battle against COVID-19.

Most students begin their medical residencies on July 1, but five are preparing to begin their residencies in April. German Ferrer and another student will begin working as family medicine physicians during their residency in Klamath Falls.

“I hope we’re able to help,” Ferrer said.

OHSU says a third student will begin working in an emergency department and two others are in talks about starting their residencies in a just a few weeks. All these students have given up hard-earned breaks before their residency. They’ll be joining healthcare workers on the front lines fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

“There’s an element of definitely unknown and maybe a little bit of this is a scary time to be going in this," Ferrer said. "But an element of this is what we’ve been training for years now."

They’ve been in school for years, but not much can train them for starting their careers during a pandemic.

“It’ll be a challenge,” Ferrer said.

These students won’t be alone. New York University Medical School said it would allow fourth-year medical students to graduate early to get them working in the medical field. OHSU says even more of their students could begin residencies early as well.

Those students have just finished four rigorous years of medical school, but will choose not to take a break because the medical industry is in such dire need of help.

“It’s a very a vital team, our healthcare workers. It’s really a privilege to be able to jump into it at this moment,” Ferrer said.

OHSU says its program to allow students to graduate early has been around since 2014 and doesn’t have anything to do with coronavirus; however, getting students matched and in residency early is due to the virus.

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