SON Facilitates Mass Vaccine Rollout

SON Facilitates Mass Vaccine Rollout

3/21 - Heroes don’t just wear capes; they wear scrubs, too!

In February, School of Nursing faculty and students partnered with New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to people who need it most.

Prelicensure Program Coordinator Penny Sauer and Prelicensure Clinical Coordinator Nina Williams led 25 students in the mass vaccination that took place at the Pointe 14 Cinemas. Students checked people in, completed vaccination record cards and administered the vaccine.

“This experience has been remarkable to say the least,” Williams said. “Making history right before our eyes. Watching the students interact with the community, giving them the gift of change for this pandemic that has changed us all has been priceless.”

The idea came about when Christy Spivey, the community liaison at NHRMC, asked about student participation in the vaccine clinics. “With great excitement, I took this idea and project for director approval,” she said. “Once we had approval, each course coordinator and clinical faculty were contacted to line up students to attend the clinic.”

Williams and Sauer coordinated, placing faculty and students on the mass vaccine schedule at various times and dates. “On any given day, we would have four to six faculty members and 50-60 students giving vaccines and documented at the clinics,” she said.

The aim was to administer up to 1,300 vaccinations, and of that number, 500-700 vaccines were administered by students.

The historic event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone who participated.

The experience allowed students to grow individually and professionally, preparing them for their future as a professional nurse and showing them the brighter side of a dark year that has changed their way of learning.

“Participating in the clinic has strengthened their skills, but more so, it has gifted them the ability to make a difference in history,” she said. “I have witnessed students beam with joy – and tears – to see the gratitude from the community as they receive their vaccines. This will change them forever. I am so proud to be a part of this endeavor.”

The partnership with NHRMC allows more of its staff to tend to the patients in the hospital while giving UNCW students valuable experience in the field.

Nursing students are expected to participate in more vaccination events in the coming weeks.

Williams said she is blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity to lead young professionals to the tomorrow we have all needed for over a year now. “I am proud to be their leader, but most of all, proud to see them soar.”