When the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Alabama, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing students and faculty were among the first to administer doses to frontline health care workers at local Birmingham hospitals in December.
Upper-level nursing students who have received training to administer the shot are serving Ascension Health employees and staffed clinics at St. Vincent’s Birmingham and St. Vincent’s East in a clinical role under the supervision of Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing faculty. The opportunity to serve in the clinics was offered to all Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing students. There are also a variety of non-clinical roles where lower-level students are serving.
The St. Vincent’s clinics are administering the Moderna vaccine.
“Our students are gaining real-life experience working with an interprofessional team, administering vaccines, reviewing health histories, providing teaching to vaccine recipients and monitoring recipients for adverse effects of the vaccine,” said Cindy Berry, professor and clinical education and community partnerships director. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience but also an opportunity for our students to serve a health care community who have been through so much this past year.”
Even though Samford’s traditional spring semester has not begun and many Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing students are at home for winter break, nearly 20% of students volunteered to assist with the clinic and most for more than one shift. Eight undergraduate faculty members are also volunteering. The students and faculty say they will continue to serve for the foreseeable future.
“I believe our students and faculty are perpetuating the mission of Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing and Samford University,” said Berry. “I am incredibly proud of the response from our undergraduate program.”
Students and faculty are serving in full or half-day shifts. Students can earn up to 12 hours of credit toward their spring semester clinical hour requirement, but Berry says most students have volunteered well above this amount.
According to third-year nursing student Hannah Precise, the St. Vincent’s staff has been welcoming and the clinics have been running safely and efficiently.
“Samford nursing students spend clinical semesters learning from the Birmingham health care community, and I can think of no better way to give back than by helping to administer COVID-19 vaccines,” said Precise. “Even though giving a shot seems like a small act, it represents a huge step in ending the pandemic, so each vaccine given feels like a victory. This historic milestone is an incredible opportunity that I will never forget!”