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Through a collaboration with the Will County Health Department, students and faculty in the Joliet Junior College Nursing Department have been volunteering their time vaccinating residents.
While supporting local immunization efforts, nursing students are also learning in clinical settings that had been put on hold at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These volunteer clinics not only give them experience with the skill, but also communicating with the patient,” said Susan Batis, JJC nursing professor. “After attending the clinic, many students are more at ease with teaching the patient about the vaccination, drawing up the medication, administering the vaccination and watching for side effects.”
Students were given the opportunity to volunteer along with supervising professors Mary Magruder, Dr. Sharon Valentino and Dr. Julio Santiago. Currently, Magruder is organizing the volunteer clinics while Valentino hopes to take some of her students during their clinical rotation.
“It showed me how much I really have learned over the past semesters in the nursing program,” said student Laura Myers. “The professors in my nursing program have really prepared me to care for the people in my community. They prepared me by making sure I understood how important it is to communicate and interact with the patient.”
Their work with the Will County Health Department will continue as long as there is a need for vaccinations.
“I personally think it's been an amazing experience being able to be a part of the vaccination program with the WCHD,” said student Kerry Bard. “Every person getting vaccinated has been so excited and thankful! We're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel; getting back to ‘normal life’ is close and it feels good to be a part of making that happen!”
Not only have the students gained valuable hands-on experience vaccinating actual patients, but it has given them a sense of pride knowing they are helping to end the pandemic.
“It makes you want to do more to help, and every clinic worked comes with a deep satisfaction that you have somehow played your part, even as a student, during this global pandemic,” said student Don Florante.
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