Early morning on Tuesday, January 19th, Dean Jeannette Andrews received a phone call from College of Nursing clinical partner, Prisma Health, sharing an urgent need for volunteers at their newly opened vaccination site at Gamecock Park. Within a few hours, Dr. Karen Worthy (Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies) and faculty in clinical undergraduate courses were able to recruit 51 student volunteers to the vaccination location. Faculty and students heeded the request for help, and the college arranged to rotate Prisma clinical groups at Gamecock Park for the rest of the week. By the end of the week, over 130 students had assisted in administering around 5,780 vaccines. Nursing students will continue to volunteer at the site over the next few weeks to meet Prisma Health's needs.
“Our students have the opportunity to work in one of three stages of the vaccination clinic: intake/registration, inoculation, and observation. During an ongoing public health emergency, the need to teach becomes critical as new graduates will be entering the profession during the current COVID-19 pandemic and must have a readiness to practice.” - Karen Worthy
College of Nursing faculty member Dr. Liam Hein, volunteered to oversee six undergraduate nursing students qualified to administer vaccines. "They jumped right in. We rotated roles of registering them into VAMS (the computer system), processed their cards, screened them, administered shots, and provided aftercare instructions. We had a smooth system running by 30 minutes," says Hein. This unprecedented pandemic has shifted many norms for the current cohort of nursing students, but it has also presented an abundance of unique learning opportunities that have and will build critical skills needed to be successful and compassionate nurses.
"I reminded them that ten years from now when their children or nieces/nephews ask them, "what did you do to help during the pandemic?" they can say -I helped administer vaccines to keep people safe. That's a legacy they can be proud of." - Liam Hein
Lindsey Lipman, Junior
- What was your role at the site? I met patients and administered the vaccine to individuals (actually giving the injections to them), signed their forms, and then wrote time cards to place on their windshield for their 15 minute waiting period after vaccination.
- What did you learn from this experience? From this experience, I learned how much it really takes everyone to come together to stop the spread of COVID. There were so many people involved in the distribution of the vaccine, whether it was on the administrative side filling out paperwork and directing cars, the clinical side of drawing up and administering the vaccine, and even the individuals who came to get the vaccine to help protect themselves and others.
- How did you feel at the end of your shift? At the end of my shift, I felt extremely proud to have been able to administer vaccines to so many individuals who needed it the most. I got the opportunity to chat with and meet people who had amazing stories to tell, stories that deserve to be heard and protected. The COVID vaccine is helping do just that by protecting these individuals. Just as everyone else’s, my life has been greatly affected by COVID-19 and it was truly incredible to see the amount of hope this vaccine is providing to people.
Ashley Owens, Junior
- What was your role at the site? I administered vaccinations- I was able to give 34 vaccines the day I volunteered.
- How was this experience different than working in the hospital? This experience was different than the one at the actual hospital site; everything was more fast paced. It was a great bonding experience for my clinical group as well. I have absolutely loved my volunteer experience so far, and I want to continue to sign up for more shifts.
- How do you feel after volunteering? I feel like I am impacting the community by working together with all the healthcare professionals on trying to fight this crazy pandemic.