Hawkeye Community College nursing students get hands-on experience giving the COVID-19 vaccine

posted on Friday, April 16, 2021 in  College News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Hawkeye Community College nursing students administered the COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic Thursday. The college was allocated 150 doses of the Moderna vaccine and was notified earlier this week.

The clinic was intended only for employees and their families, but there were extra doses available for students who wanted to get the shot.

Nursing students were able to administer the shot as part of their clinical work for class credit.

"It's giving me experience and it's helping me be confident knowing that I know how to do these things because this is something important," Hawkeye nursing student Ayron Gilmore said.

Gilmore is studying to become a licensed practical nurse and had no idea she'd play such a vital role in a global pandemic.

All of the nursing students giving the vaccine against COVID-19 already knew how to give these types of injections. They are called "intramuscular injections" and have been practiced by the students plenty of times beforehand. However, they did need to go through special CDC training before giving this particular vaccine.

"We had to learn about COVID, we had to learn about what the signs and symptoms of, you know, COVID reactions may be, what the COVID vaccine is for," Gilmore said.

Under the supervision of Hawkeye medical staff, this was a learning experience like no other.

"When we get a little bit of downtime I'm also just educating them on other things about COVID-19 and other health sciences issues," Hawkeye Community College Nurse Practitioner Janel Thompson said.

Thompson also explained that the Student Health Clinic met the criteria to be able to hold the doses in the clinic's refrigerators. Therefore, personnel from the Black Hawk County Health Department didn't need to be present at the clinic, but were still available as a resource.

Even those who were receiving the vaccine thought this experience was a great hands-on opportunity for the students taking part.

"With administering such a groundbreaking vaccine, more or less, is just really invaluable experience. It's just really cool that Hawkeye let them do that," Hawkeye Community College Digital Mass Media instructor Devin Ferguson said.

"This is something that's impacting the whole world right now and it's an honor to be able to give it," Gilmore said.

Hawkeye Community College is unsure if they will host additional vaccine clinics, but they are prepared to do so if the Black Hawk County Health Department allocated more doses to the school.

The reason the clinic was originally intended only for employees and their families is that the two-dose Moderna vaccine would put students' second appointment right after the end of the spring semester. Students who were able to receive their vaccine at Monday's clinic needed to be able to return for their second dose.

The college had anticipated receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but it was ultimately put on pause after a recommendation from the CDC and FDA.

Diego Hernandez, KWWL News Channel 7


  1. Black Hawk County Public Health
  2. COVID-19
  3. KWWL
  4. Nursing
  5. Student Health Clinic
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