Twenty-five Southeast Missouri State University nursing students and faculty members volunteered to support the Friday, Jan. 29, vaccination clinic at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The clinic was hosted and organized by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center and Missouri National Guard. Southeast students and faculty helped administer 1,848 vaccine doses.
Participating in the event is an exciting and unique opportunity to support the community, said Tammie Collins, nursing instructor at Southeast.
Southeast students, under supervision of Southeast faculty and local healthcare providers, assisted in multiple roles, including screening eligible visitors, vaccination administrations, and monitoring visitors after receiving their doses, she said.
“The students’ are helping combat the threat of COVID-19, supporting the community and using the skills they have learned thus far in Southeast’s nursing program,” Collins said.
For junior nursing student Molly Dunkmann of St. Charles, Missouri, volunteering was a unique opportunity to help the community.
“This is a part of history and I wanted to help bring an end to the pandemic,” Dunkmann said. “I’m also getting more experience administering injections and working with patients, which is important for my career.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of her nursing skills and how she can make a difference, said Madison Livingston, a junior nursing student from Sikeston, Missouri.
“I knew I wanted to make people feel safer and healthier,” Livingston said. “I’m getting to interact with so many and help them through this.”
“Our person-to-person interaction is important, especially now giving this vaccine and during this pandemic,” agreed Brooke Blume of Broseley, Missouri. “I’m learning how to help clients feel comfortable and their feedback can make me a better nurse.”
Real-world experience is an important part of the students’ development as they prepare to enter the workforce. The skills they have learned in the classroom and applied in clinicals can prepare them for success, develop confidence in their skills, and be a contributing team member in community health events, Collins said.
The vaccination clinic is an opportunity to practice good hand hygiene; wearing personal protective equipment; proper donning and removal of gloves; maintaining a clean work environment; cleaning and selecting an injection site; proper administration of intramuscular injections, applying band aids properly; and monitoring patients for possible adverse reactions post injections.
“I think it is essential for the students to gain confidence in their nursing knowledge and skills, and to know that their community service contribution during this pandemic helps make a difference in many lives,” Collins said. “This is a worldwide crisis affecting millions of people. The call for nationwide vaccinations to promote herd immunity is a call for duty for willing healthcare workers. Every day on the news we are seeing frontline healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to care for the those in needs. Nursing is a very selfless profession. As an educator of nursing students, I believe it is in their nature to want to be able to help when needed.”
Being there for their community now as students is helping prepare them for career’s after graduation, and to be able to help those in need for any event.
“We’re observing history and learning how to be a part of something this large and still connect with patients,” said Courtney Huber, a junior from Perryville, Missouri.
“Injections are a big part of nursing and we’re helping talk everyone through this today and make a difference in the whole community,” said Coley Leimbach, a junior from Jackson, Missouri.
Established in 1958, the Southeast department of nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a RN to BSN Online degree and a Master of Science in Nursing; all of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The department boasts more than 20 faculty, nearly 250 admitted students and more than 400 pre-nursing students.