Giving Back: Nursing Students Assist Vaccination Efforts

A LBCC nursing student administers a vaccine to a patient

As Oregon counties step up the pace to get their citizens vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, the nursing students at Linn-Benton Community College have been putting their skills to the test by helping administer vaccines at various locations in Linn and Benton counties. 
 
While working side-by-side with Samaritan Health Services and Linn County, nearly every LBCC nursing student has gotten hands-on experience administering approximately 6,000 vaccines over the past six days.
 
“I think this was awesome,” said first-year nursing student Elizabeth Hernandez. “It’s a great opportunity to just go out there and help the community and get that experience. I feel comfortable giving vaccines now!” 
 
An LBCC nursing student is typically in the classroom for five to eight hours per week, with another 12 to 18 hours per week of clinical education. LBCC’s on-campus Nursing Skills Lab utilizes individual learning stations and human simulation mannequin scenarios as teaching aids. Clinical experiences—required as a part of all nursing education programs—occur in a variety of ways. LBCC nursing students receive their clinical education at locations in the surrounding community at public health, long-term care, and hospital facilities.
 
Hernandez, who administered over 50 doses in one day, especially enjoyed the hands-on practice outside of online classes and simulations. “It was nice just getting the opportunity to practice giving vaccines and then helping people, making sure they feel comfortable about getting vaccinated.”
 
While students administer the vaccines, nursing faculty supervise the volunteers to ensure that everyone is following policy and the proper procedures. According to nursing instructor and LBCC alumna Caitlyn Terrell, everyone did excellently.
 
“One of LBCC’s core values is to improve the community that we're part of,” Terrell said. “I think that is so awesome.” Terrell, who has always thought highly of LBCC, is especially pleased that students got to work with patients in a setting outside of a typical hospital environment. 
 
“Many times in the hospitals, they have maybe one or two patients for a 12-hour shift, whereas here, every 15 minutes or so, they’re getting a new patient,” said Terell. “They are adjusting their approach, their communication style, and easing a lot of anxiety.” This experience helps them prepare LBCC nursing students to provide culturally-sensitive patient care, while developing critical thinking skills, accuracy, and professionalism along the way. 
 
According to the Oregon COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, 33-51% of Linn and Benton counties, respectively, have already been fully vaccinated. We are exceptionally proud of our nursing students’ contributions to this statewide effort! 
 
Healthcare practitioners are needed now more than ever! If you’re curious about healthcare occupations and want to know how Linn-Benton Community College can help you gain the skills and certification needed for a rewarding new career, check out our full list of healthcare programs

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