MEPN Nursing Students Volunteer to Vaccinate the Community

MEPN Nursing Students Volunteer to Vaccinate the Community

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) students are helping to inoculate San Diegans throughout the county with COVID-19 vaccines.

“When you think of it, this is historic. Most people have not experienced a pandemic before, so to be able not only to be experiencing it all, but also being able to help improve the health of our community as a whole, has been so amazing and exciting because that’s what nursing is all about -- it’s about caring for each other and caring about your community. It’s been great to be directly hands-on with that,” said Lyla Gabel, 1st-Year MEPN student.

For the past few weeks, USD nursing students have been volunteering at various locations throughout the county from the PETCO Park Vaccination Super Station to a clinic held in Imperial Beach every Friday.

“It’s been really gratifying to be able to help people and make our community a safer place. And, it’s an emotional process because a lot of times these patients are so excited to get their vaccine and they really share with you a lot,” said Basma Adams, 1st-Year MEPN student.

Basma has been volunteering at two to three clinics each week. She says that patients have been sharing with her the significance of the COVID-19 vaccine on their lives --- such as, the ability to see family members again, whom they haven’t seen for months. 

“A lot of people have cried in front of me saying that they finally feel like they can take a bigger breath and that things are starting to look up. It’s an emotional process for everybody and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget because it truly is history making in the process,” added Adams. 

 Alongside the impact of their volunteer work, first-year nursing students are also getting a unique opportunity to get real hands-on experience to use their newly acquired nursing skills. 1st-year MEPN student, Lauren Schmid, has been volunteering every Saturday at the UCSD-RIMAC Arena which she says has a patient volume of around 3,000 people.

“I think it’s definitely improved my confidence in how to administer a vaccine, not just from the actual vaccine itself, but talking with the patient while you’re going through the process. Healthcare is something that is tailored to the patient and each person is different and it is important to make sure you understand what their comfort level is in getting a vaccine,” said Schmid. 

Studying as a nurse during the pandemic has also helped the students see what their options are as nurses and how they want to get involved in the community in the future.

“I think it’s really shown me all the opportunities for nursing in the community. Nursing is such a great field because it’s so diverse. You can do so many different things with it and this pandemic has really showcased that. Public health nurses have been instrumental as far as reaching out and providing education and that’s such a big part of nursing,” said Gabel.

“I’m really open to doing something community-oriented. I’m not sure if that means being a public health nurse or having a different field of specialty and providing my services through volunteer hours somewhere else but I definitely hope to do some community work whether that’s my direct career or volunteer time,” said Schmid.

USD Nursing Students

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