In November, second-year ADN students at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, N.Y., participated in two mass vaccination drills sponsored by the Westchester County (N.Y.) Health Department.
Collaborating with Shirlita Amler, MD, Westchester health commissioner, and Michael Borrero, RN, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Westchester County Department of Health, WCC professors Lynette DeBellis, RN, BSN, MA, and Janice Gilroy RN, MS, health coordinator, organized the drills.
Three four-hour sessions were offered to Westchester County residents. Two sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another from 4 to 8 p.m. coordinated and supervised by Layla Qaabidh, RN, MS, assistant professor of nursing at WCC. Nearly 400 vaccines were administered.Students from the ADN evening program register county residents as they enter the flu clinic.
According to Nursing Department Chairwoman Eileen Karlik, RN, PhD, the flu clinic served several purposes. “First, partnered with the Westchester County Health Department, we are serving the community by offering free flu vaccines,” Karlik said. “Secondly, we are preparing our students and nursing faculty to be trained in the event of a flu pandemic or bioterrorism attack. Finally, the students obtain real-world experience in medication administration and community nursing.”
To prepare for the day, students participated in a Webinar and completed self-learning modules on the subject of the 2011-12 flu vaccine. Students were prepared to administer the vaccine and educate Westchester County residents about the benefits of annual flu vaccinations.Nursing student Will Chazenfus administers the flu vaccine to WCC professor Richard Rosell.
As part of the mass vaccination point of distribution, the students were responsible for several roles during the day. Students were assigned to the roles of triage nurse, information reviewer, vaccine administrator and post-vaccine assessment.
Student Amber Krystallis expressed the sentiments of her classmates. “The mass vaccination drill/flu clinic offered real-life experience for the students,” Krystallis said. “It was an invaluable experience.”