Second-Year MEPN Student Drives 500 Miles to get COVID Vaccine

Second-Year MEPN Student Drives 500 Miles to get COVID Vaccine


Second-year MEPN student Tiffany Duong was at home in the Bay Area when she got the email from USD telling her the vaccine was being given to Hahn School of Nursing students.

“So we only had about three or four days where we were allotted to come in to get the vaccine,” Duong said. “So, I just packed my bags and the next day I drove down to San Diego to get it.” 

Duong is one of 55 MEPN students at USD SON; Master’s Entry Program in Nursing students who have earned their bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing.  They come to USD SON to earn their Master of Science in Nursing degree, but they are not yet licensed as nurses.  Duong could not get the vaccine in the Bay area, so she drove to San Diego to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

 “Our spring semester has not started yet,” Duong said, “It will start in like two weeks. Then we will begin our clinical placements. So that would be when we start heading into the hospitals for our preceptorship.” 

And that’s why Duong drove 500 miles for a shot filled not just with the Moderna vaccine, but with hope. Duong’s clinical placement will be at Rady Children’s Hospital and she wants to ensure her preceptor knows she is serious about protecting those around her. That mindset also includes her work on-campus. Nursing students will be required to complete clinical work in the Dickinson Nursing Simulation Center as part of their studies.  Duong will work alongside other students, but it will be a different scenario than before COVID.  Now, students work in smaller groups, they all wear masks, and they remain at least six feet from each other. Many of them will even have been vaccinated, which gives them another layer of protection.

“This vaccine really epitomizes what we've been working towards; being present and utilizing our skills,” Duong said. “This is a time when we can shine.”

Duong has heard the stories from nurses working on COVID units.  She knows that despite a bed shortage, many Southern California hospitals have an even bigger problem; a nurse shortage.  COVID-19 has caused some nurses to give up the work they love because their own health is at risk.

“We all want to be the fresh face of hope to say that help is coming,” she said. “That’s definitely worth a 500-mile drive.”

The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after the first.  Duong will be back on campus by the time her second injection comes due.

begin quoteWe all want to be the fresh face of hope to say that help is coming
500 mile drive for vaccine

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Carol Scimone


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