BC nursing students participate in UTMB Health vaccination clinics

Nursing-Covid-t

BC nursing students participate in UTMB Health vaccination clinics

BC nursing students participate in UTMB Health vaccination clinics

Thu Apr 1, 2021

Nursing-Covid

Brazosport College nursing students Kaitlyn Campbell, Meghan Cullins, Tiffany Parker, John Thomas Gallardo, Derek Meyer and Cristina Parrish pose for a photo after volunteering for a recent UTMB Health Angleton Danbury Campus community vaccination distribution event.

As COVID-19 vaccinations have become increasingly available throughout Brazoria County, Brazosport College’s nursing program has played a role in getting those shots out to the public.

Twenty of Brazosport College’s Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) students have volunteered and helped administer vaccines at recent UTMB Health Angleton Danbury Campus community vaccination distribution events throughout the area.

For the nursing students, this has been a prime opportunity to assist the community while honing their skills and preparing for future careers.

“It’s great for them to get that sense of community health,” said BC Director of Nursing Nicole Millikan. ”During nursing school, students can get so focused on the patient — what’s going on with your patient and how to heal your patient — and they can forget that nursing isn’t just about the patients. It’s about the whole community.

“This has been an important opportunity for them to be involved in their community,” she added.

The BC nursing program became involved in the effort after UTMB Health, one of the program’s clinical partners, reached out for volunteers to assist them in getting the vaccines out. As a result, BC’s nursing students immediately began lining up to help.

“The fact that it was a volunteer-basis and we have had so many students volunteer, I’ve been totally blown away,” Millikan said. “I’m so proud of them.”

During the clinics, the students have participated in the entire process, from checking people in to administering the vaccine to monitoring the patients before they leave the facility.

“The students have been eager to learn and willing to jump in wherever needed,” said Vanessa Gutierrez, RN, UTMB Health nursing supervisor and vaccine clinic coordinator. “They may have been a little nervous for their first injections, but they were pros by the end. You can see the confidence they’ve gained when speaking with patients and the knowledge they’ve gained about the vaccines.”

For the students, it has been an opportunity to take their training into the real world.

“During our clinical experiences I had given two or three intramuscular shots similar to how the vaccine is, but they walked us right through it once we got there,” said BC nursing student Angela Fry. “It’s been such a rare opportunity. To be able to give that many vaccines and get that much practice in one day is an awesome experience.”

Another BC nursing student, Tanith Perkins, shared a similar opinion to her classmate

“I have been incredibly thankful for the opportunity to do this,” Perkins said. “Because of COVID we were completely pulled online and didn’t have patient contact for a year and, as a nursing student, that can make it difficult. It’s important to learn the skills and put them into practice, but you also have to learn how to speak to the patient and care for them in person. This has provided us the opportunity to do that.”

Possibly the biggest takeaway for the students, however, has been the appreciation they’ve received from the community.

“It has been incredible to watch people after they received their vaccine,” Perkins said. “We’ve literally had people thanking us and telling us how much better this makes them feel. It’s heartwarming to see so many people touched by this.

“The emotional connection with the patient is why I decided to get into nursing,” Perkins added. “I’m a people-person and I like to take care of people. I was happy to have the opportunity to do some of that here.”

BC students participating in at least one of the vaccination clinics have included Perkins, Fry, Jasmine Deleon, Ashlynn Gilliam, Jennifer Savoy, Christina Weigle, Kaitlyn Campbell, Druzila Garcia, Meghan Cullins, Edelia Juarez, Cristina Parrish, Kristen Vela, Erin Hall, Tiffany Parker, Heather Mendez, Tammy Jones, Shawni Bowen, Jessica Walker, John Gallardo and Derek Meyer. Millikan and BC ADN nursing faculty member Teresa Whitehead has also assisted and monitored the students during the clinics.

“I take pride in Brazosport College being able to help during a crisis like this,” Millikan said. “As a nurse, I want to be out there giving the vaccine and taking care of COVID patients rather than be sitting behind a desk. It’s what I’ve been trained to do. But to see an extension of that through our College and through the nursing students has been an amazing and fulfilling experience.”

To learn more about Brazosport College’s nursing program, visit www.brazosport.edu/Healthcare.