Posted on Mar 11, 2021

Students vaccinating students at USF College of Nursing COVID clinic

Students vaccinating students at USF College of Nursing COVID clinic

On March 8, the USF Health College of Nursing’s Gathering Space buzzed with excitement as students and faculty hustled about. A casual visitor might be forgiven for wondering if we had forgotten about the pandemic. Closer scrutiny showed chairs set 6 feet apart, everyone wearing masks, some with face shields, and a systematic entry and exit system with a sign-up table and clear signs directing foot traffic. This was the second COVID-19 vaccine clinic staffed entirely by college faculty and students to vaccinate our students and faculty.

Inside, tables appropriately placed were each staffed by an undergraduate or graduate student. Faculty supervisors made the rounds, ready to answer questions or assist in other ways if needed.

“Our nurse-run clinic provided the students an opportunity for a real-life experience of vaccinating the community while nestled in a safe learning environment,” said Janet Roman, assistant professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

“We had students volunteer for this initiative from novice undergraduate levels to our expert doctoral students. We worked in harmony as one nursing team to help protect each other from the dangers of COVID. We had tears of joy and gratitude from those vaccinated, and self-pride from the vaccinators. This was a spectacular life-changing experience for all involved,” Dr. Roman said.

The College of Nursing held two clinics over the past two weeks, allowing patient-facing students and faculty to get vaccinated through a convenient scheduling system. USF Health provided the vaccines allowing nursing to be the first college at USF to offer an organized in-house effort.

The USF Health College of Nursing held two COVID vaccine clinics to inoculate faculty and students.

“As you can imagine, securing clinical placements has been an incredible challenge throughout the pandemic,” said Tiffany Gwartney, interim assistant dean of undergraduate and global programs. “With many of our clinical partners beginning to inquire about the vaccination status of our students, it is an incredible point of pride to share that we have been able to prioritize our students’ safety, vaccinating them and preparing them for a very different clinical environment forthcoming.”

Denise Maguire, associate professor and senior associate dean for alumni, community, and global engagement, has spent most of her time organizing volunteers for this and the many other USF Health Clinic vaccine initiatives.

Maguire, who is also a USF alumna, has engaged alumni in these efforts. Before the clinics, she and other faculty organized boot camps for student vaccinators and for faculty who prepared the vaccine for administration.

“This was an important step to fully prepare our students and faculty to be caring for patients in the hospitals and clinics. Our goal is to have every College of Nursing student vaccinated, no matter what program they are enrolled in,” Dr. Maguire said.

Dean Usha Menon received her second vaccine dose from nurse anesthesia student, Oshene Sharpe.

“What a wonderful opportunity for our college,” Dr. Menon said. “It was particularly emotional receiving the vaccine from one of our students. It allowed me to see first-hand the impact of our stellar students on community initiatives.”

Dr. Menon thanked USF Health for providing the vaccines. “This is a great exemplar of how USF Health colleges work in tandem for the greater good of USF Health and the university,” she said.

The effort included two opportunities for vaccinations, which resulted in more than 240 first-time doses being distributed. There will be two follow-up clinics for second doses.

“It’s important that the school has put forth the effort to help keep the students safe,” Sharpe said. “Things have changed and will continue to change, and this is a step in the right direction of keeping ourselves, our patients, and their families safe.”

Story by Usha Menon and Jessica Samaniego, USF College of Nursing