Nursing students working in campus, community COVID-19 vaccination clinics
In-person clinical opportunities for nursing students in Stritch’s Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences were significantly restricted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty and staff creatively developed alternate opportunities for students that would prepare them for careers on the health care front lines. Clinical experiences are critical for nursing students because it provides them direct patient care experience, exposure to a variety of health care settings and a chance to master their skills.
Through a new partnership with the North Shore Health Department (NSHD), nursing students now have the opportunity to complete their community health clinical at COVID-19 vaccination clinics, including those held on the Stritch campus. The students work in all aspects of the clinic – registration, drawing vaccines (inserting medication into syringes), vaccination and post-vaccination observation.
For Stritch senior Emily Passow, it has been a full-circle experience. Emily was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Aurora Medical Center in Summit, Wis., last March when the unit she was assigned to became a COVID-19 unit that provided care for patients who had been stricken with the virus. Now she is helping create herd immunity and keep people healthy by working at vaccination clinics.
“I am so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this,” Emily said during the first vaccination clinic on Stritch’s campus on March 3. “I feel like I am doing my part. I have seen people who were very sick from the virus struggle and now I am helping prevent the virus by providing vaccinations.”
Emily estimates she vaccinated close to 40 people at a NSHD clinic in February and explains that the experience gave her a better understanding of community health nursing positions, which she hopes to further explore after graduating from Stritch in May.
“Clinicals are important because they help connect what we learn in lecture classes to practice,” according to Emily. When Stritch transitioned to online learning in March 2020, Emily missed learning in person with her fellow classmates. “We constantly bounce things off each other and I missed that.”
"Our students are acquiring invaluable experience providing direct patient care on the front lines of this global pandemic," said Dr. Gloria Jacobson, dean of the college. "They are living Stritch's Franciscan values through their important service to others. We are grateful for partners like the North Shore Health Department and other health care systems and facilities that make these opportunities available to our students.”