The SCTCC Practical Nursing Students had some first-hand (or first-arm) experience with giving COVID-19 vaccinations on April 15-16.
Onamia was looking for extra help administering vaccines, and Connie Frisch, the Director of Nursing, saw it as a perfect opportunity for the PN students. Experiences like this strengthen their therapeutic communication skills as well as technology skills by documenting information that links to the Minnesota Immunization Information system.
A total of six SCTCC students were able to volunteer their time. More students would have been able to participate, but several are in clinicals this time of year and distance was a factor as well.
Allison Fleck is a current PN student and was excited to administer vaccines.
“Every single one of the people that came to my station to get their vaccine was in the best mood,” said Allison. “They were ready to contribute what they could to put an end to this virus. I even had an elderly lady who told me that she was just given a few months left to live, but it didn't matter to her. She was there with her sleeve pulled down, ready to be vaccinated! I saw so much hope in these people's eyes.”
While the SCTCC students were on vaccine duty, they gave between 500-600 vaccines over the course of two days, two hours each day. The experience is a perfect way to bolster their experience.
“It will look great on their resumes as they are preparing to graduate in May as Practical Nurses,” said instructor Terri Larison.
Student Renee Veneman also volunteered to administer vaccines. “It was an experience I will actively be doing as a part of my future career,” she said. “It was a learning experience I likely wouldn’t have had otherwise due to classes being online.”
Even though many SCTCC classes were moved online due to COVID, the PN and all health sciences programs have used this as a learning experience for how they would be able to adapt in their future health care careers. This hands-on experience with administering vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic is sure to be one the Practical Nursing students won’t forget.