PENSACOLA, Fla. — University of West Florida nursing students are on the front line of the vaccination effort in Northwest Florida, administering vaccines to priority individuals.
Since February, 54 nursing students have administered vaccinations at various locations throughout the area in partnership with Ascension Sacred Heart and the Escambia County Health Department.
The BSN students work under the supervision of UWF School of Nursing faculty and are paired with licensed professionals. The clinics offer nursing students a way to get hands-on experience and give back to the community.
“The impact is not lost on me,” said Gunner Locklin, a senior nursing student.
“I was encouraged that so many were interested in receiving the vaccine and by how efficient the process was. Seeing how many people it really takes to make things like this happen, and the logistics involved, was humbling and inspiring.”
Nursing faculty Dr. Ida Montgomery, Dr. Kathy Andresen, Davisa Banks, Dr. Cynthia Smith Peters, Vicki Beaugh and Christina Rials assisted second and third-semester students at the Escambia County Department of Health and Ascension Sacred Heart Clinics.
“The patients were so thankful that we were there on a Saturday,” Montgomery said.
“The students rotated stations and did everything from screening patients, helping them fill out forms, administering more than 500 vaccines in a day and monitoring patients after the vaccine.”
Smith Peters has been coordinating the events.
“Students will continue to help as long as the need is there and their schedules can be accommodated,” Smith Peters said.
The most recent event was held March 17 at Milton Community Center. UWF nursing students are operating on an on-call schedule as vaccinations come in.
“Our partnership with UWF has been extremely beneficial,” said FDOH-Escambia Administrator Marie Mott.
“In addition to providing the vaccines, UWF’s nursing students also assist in directing traffic and monitoring patients for any potential side effects after they receive the vaccine,” she said.
“We are grateful for this partnership which both enables us to help build the health care workforce and allows our staff to continue supporting COVID-19 prevention needed to mitigate community spread and risk of infection to others.”
For more information about the School of Nursing, visit uwf.edu/nursing.