Newman University hosted a vaccination clinic for students, faculty, staff and Wichita community members on April 8 in the former bookstore space inside the Dugan Library complex.
Newman partnered with the Sedgwick County Health Department and Guadalupe Clinic to provide an opportunity to receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. A second session is scheduled for April 29.
President Kathleen S. Jagger had been talking with county and Guadalupe officials for a couple of months about a possible clinic on campus. “We think it is a great opportunity for our students and employees and a wonderful learning experience for our nursing students who helped staff the clinic.”
Thirteen students along with five current and three retired Newman faculty members worked the clinic, which vaccinated more than 100 individuals.
From a learning perspective, Newman’s Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter hopes her students experienced a couple outcomes from their participation.
“It’s just nice for them to get the opportunity to practice the skill of giving IM (intramuscular) injections. It’s something you have to do a few times to feel comfortable and we want them to get to do it over and over, so that they develop excellent skills with it,” Vetter said.
“I’m hoping that none of us get this opportunity again, to be involved with a worldwide pandemic, but imagine down the road 60 years from now being this student that gets to say to their grandchildren, ‘I helped give the vaccines when COVID was going around.’ I just think that’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Vetter believes this effort illustrates how health care is a what she calls a team sport.
“We are working together to try to ensure optimal health for populations. Sedgwick County Health Department is that overseer for the area we all live in and helping our students understand that connection is important.”
Newman – Guadalupe Clinic connection
“Newman nursing and the Guadalupe Clinic already have a partnership. I have students who go to Guadalupe for their clinical experiences … just a great opportunity for everyone to see what other people are doing in health care,” Vetter explained.” It helps improve the health of everyone, regardless of what their station is, where they are living, what they’re doing. These kinds of partnerships allow us to reach at all levels.”
Guadalupe Clinic Director of Nursing Pam Kramer, a former Newman student and instructor, agrees with Vetter. “I think that they’re learning what community health is all about. This is a perfect example of community health, and what we’re doing for the community to take care out to them.”
Kramer gave Newman students high marks for their work.
“It was really smooth. The students were very engaged. I think they even had some fun, learned a lot today, heard a lot of laughter, which is a good thing, considering that what we’re doing right now.”
Newman junior Desire Scott was one of the nursing students to serve during the five-hour vaccine clinic.
“I’m happy to be able to do something that’s going to go down in history,” she said. “We are excited to be able to because we’ve been hearing about the pandemic, so we’re excited to be a part of the help that we are being able to do.”
Nursing student Arianna Lujano has taken part in the university’s annual flu vaccinations initiatives but believes this day provided additional educational opportunities. “I expect to learn how to monitor people. Since this one (clinic) is a little different I’m monitoring for any allergic reactions. That’s something that I haven’t ever done before.”
Lujano and Scott were part of the nursing team but other Newman students had their own reasons for coming to event.
MBA graduate student Jacob Birnbaum said, “I was looking into getting vaccinated on my own. And then the same day I was looking into that, I got an email that it was going to be here at the school, so it just makes everything a lot easier.”
The motivation for getting vaccinated for senior accounting major Alejandro Ultera was “to protect myself and the community. I also thought that airports and stuff like that would require it (in the future).”
Senior organizational leadership major Braxtyn Stewart followed the example of her family members, “My parents got vaccinated and since it’s finally available, and I always get vaccinated, I just thought I might as well since it’s on campus.”
The students who took advantage of having the clinic on campus were excited that their fellow students were part of their health care.
“I’ve gotten flu shots from them before so I think it’s really cool that they get the opportunity to learn and get some experience while we get vaccinations,” Stewart said.
Second-year biology major Britney Ma said “I thought that it was really good … to help them have clinical experiences and just seeing familiar faces is always nice, too.”
Senior communication major Bailey Hawkins added, “I think it’s really nice how convenient it is to come on campus and get a vaccine. I think I’m more excited than concerned because I just want things to go back to the way they were.”
University administration does not require Newman community members to be vaccinated but highly encourages them in order to help Newman’s efforts to keep the campus healthy and safe, and to continue efforts to return campus to pre-pandemic operations.