DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > School of Nursing volunteers administer vaccines
By Kristin Claes Mathews /
March 3, 2021 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
Together, students and faculty are supporting public health workers at a pivotal point in the pandemic, as vaccinations ramp up at the city and state level.
“This opportunity allows students to gain real-world experience while serving their community,” says Suling Li, chief nursing officer and director of the School of Nursing. “Students will develop a deeper understanding of the complexity of the public health system and what it takes to protect the public’s health.”
The experience comes at a time when many nursing students are eager to practice their clinical skills and care for patients. When vaccination planning began in 2020, faculty reached out to the City of Chicago to see how they could help.
“This an opportunity for both students and faculty to have a positive and lasting effect on the community and nation,” says Raegan Quandt, a clinical assistant professor of nursing and volunteer coordinator. “Our nursing faculty and students get to be part of the greater good and effect change.”
“There was a sense of relief that came across people as soon as I put the Band-Aid on their arm. It’s giving people hope that we are moving forward to a new normal,” says Hill, president of the DePaul Student Nurses Association.
“It feels good to be part of a team and to be able to make an impact. The pandemic has really just strengthened my desire to go into nursing,” says Duffy, who is in DePaul’s Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice program. She hopes to pursue a career as an intensive care unit nurse.
In addition to practicing intramuscular injections, students at the city’s PODs are assisting at check-in, observing patients for any side effects and registering them for second doses.
“They are gaining valuable client interaction experience through screening questions and providing reassurance,” says Alison DiValerio, a clinical assistant professor who supervised students on site.
The COVID-19 vaccines are sensitive and arrive at the site frozen, then must be thawed and distributed carefully to avoid waste. For DiValerio, a memorable moment was when two SWAT team members carried in the cold storage “green box” containing the Pfizer vaccine.
“It was almost ceremonial,” she says. DePaul students watched the process of unboxing the vials, and the city’s public health nurse supervised students as they assisted with the careful steps that go into making and drawing up doses of the vaccine.
“This was so special to be able to do. Now we have the opportunity to say that we mixed the Pfizer vaccine and administered it,” Hill says. “As we become registered nurses, we will need to be confident handling medications and vaccines that are more sensitive than others. Having the opportunity to do it here and be part of something bigger than myself really encompassed the reason why I want to be a nurse.”###Media contact:Kristin Claes Mathewskristin.email@example.com 312-241-9856 (cell)
DePaul nursing student Sandy Ho administers a COVID-19 vaccine at a Chicago Department of Public Health point of distribution at Richard J. Daley College. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
DePaul alumna and registered nurse Melanie Smith Susberry (right) works for the Chicago Department of Public Health. She supervises student Kaela Rivera as faculty member Nicole Kaliski-Martinez observes. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
Nursing student Alaina Lusk assists with registration at the Chicago Department of Public Health point of distribution at Richard J. Daley College. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
DePaul nursing students and faculty are volunteering their time in 8-hour shifts at the vaccine PODs, helping public health workers during a pivotal moment in the pandemic. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
More than 150 students and 20 faculty members in the School of Nursing are volunteering at Chicago points of distribution or PODS to help administer COVID-19 vaccines. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)