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‘Incredible opportunity’

Nursing, pharmacy students administer vaccinations in COVID-19 fight

Student Life

By Ryan Howell

Memorial students are helping lead the charge in supporting the COVID-19 vaccination mandate on campuses.

Fifth-year doctor of pharmacy students in St. John’s and fourth-year bachelor of nursing students at the Western Regional School of Nursing in Corner Brook are jabbing arms.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the push to vaccinate all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Western Health permitted nurse collegians to help inoculate during the summer months.

Nurse collegians can typically work in between semesters as personal care attendants.

But with the completion of the Community Health course in the winter 2021 semester along with some additional training, the students were able to pitch in to help fight the virus.

‘Wonderful learning experience’

One of those students is Cecilia Loder, who says getting the hands-on experience was a no brainer.

“I really wanted to get involved,” she said. “This is an incredible opportunity to improve my vaccination skills and performing patient assessments. We have a great system with many different roles coming together as one to help our community.”

Ms. Loder and her fellow classmates have many responsibilities outside of providing the vaccine.

“It’s nice to see the number of people vaccinated rise and knowing that I played a part in that.” — Cecilia Loder

As each brand of the vaccine is different, it is important to discuss any potential side effects with patients and answer any questions they may have.

“Some individuals need re-assurance at their second dose appointment that mixing vaccines will not impact their health,” she said. “My job is to provide the best information that I can about the safety of the vaccines to my patients.”

As students, they are kept at close watch by senior nurses as extra help for high-level questions or concerns, but also to act as mentors to those just beginning their careers.

Ms. Loder says the nurses she worked with have already taught her a lot about the profession and how to model herself as a nurse.

“I have learned so much from them about medications and allergies that would make somebody ineligible for the vaccine who may not have known. They also ensure we are informed to do our job, but they also lend a helping hand whenever they can. It has truly been a wonderful learning experience.”

Sense of pride

For Ms. Loder, she says she will be able to look back fondly on playing a part in helping those around her remain safe.

“To help out in my community during such an important time is a privilege. COVID-19 has had a major impact on everyone. It’s nice to see the number of people vaccinated rise and knowing that I played a part in that.”

The experience also brings back some normalcy to her studies, she says.

“It has definitely been challenging completing a nursing degree online,” she said. “With that said, the Western Regional School of Nursing has been excellent at providing the resources we need and I was still able to complete my clinical, which I am grateful for. It’s just such a great privilege to have been asked to help out at the vaccination clinics.”

To learn more about Memorial’s response to COVID-19, please visit here. Information about upcoming vaccination clinics both on campus and for the general community is available here.

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