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ETSU College of Nursing students assisting with COVID-19 vaccines

JOHNSON CITY — Students in East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing have had the opportunity to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations during their clinical rotations in partnership with Ballad Health.
“This is a historic moment for our nursing students,” said Dr. Kathryn Wilhoit, interim dean of the ETSU College of Nursing. “Nurses around the globe and right here in Appalachia were on the front lines of care during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, and now more than a century later, they are playing a critical role in vaccinating the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Currently, approximately 30% of the fourth-semester students in the ETSU College of Nursing have served a primary or alternate role rotating through COVID-19 vaccination PODs (point of distribution) at Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center (BRMC).
“We hope to be able to assist at as many sites and locations as possible,” said Dr. Melessia Webb, associate dean for undergraduate programs. “This experience will assist our health care partners in providing more ‘hands’ caring for our community and our health care clients.”
Being part of the vaccination process will also help the nursing students hone their skills.
“Our students are gaining experience in clinical skills that is reinforced by repetition,” said Holly Mitchell, clinical coordinator for undergraduate programs at ETSU College of Nursing. “This rotation is an amazing opportunity for students. We graciously thank Ballad Health for all the opportunities, including hosting our students in the COVID PODs.”
Fourth-semester nursing student Savannah Johnson was one of the nursing students who recently helped administer vaccines at the BRMC POD.
“Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, especially while in nursing school, has given me a whole new perspective on school and life in general,” said Johnson. “Personally, receiving the vaccine and now being able to administer the vaccine makes me feel like I am doing my part to protect others. As a nursing student, I have been training to be on the front lines and now to contribute firsthand is historic and something that I feel confident will shape me into a better nurse.”
Johnson’s fellow nursing student and partner at the BRMC POD, Amber Cook, agrees.
“This is a time for us to be able to step up to the plate and be able to get hands-on experience while helping the cause and being part of something so much bigger than what we’ve ever been a part of before,” Cook said.
To learn more about the ETSU College of Nursing, visit www.etsu.edu/nursing.