Carey students assisting in COVID-19 immunization process

Carey students assisting in COVID-19 immunization process
April Kittrell, a nursing student at William Carey University/Hattiesburg campus, administers a COVID-19 vaccine at Hattiesburg Clinic. (Source: William Carey University)

William Carey University Media Relations

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Students from William Carey University’s College of Health Sciences have pitched in for the fight against the coronavirus.

Since mid-December, students in the School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy have been serving at immunization sites in hospitals and clinics.

The group includes students from the School of Pharmacy’s Tradition campus and School of Nursing from the Baton Rouge, La., Tradition and Hattiesburg, campuses.

“Our students and faculty are proud to work with other health care professionals to fight this pandemic,” said Dr. Karen Sicard of the College of Health Sciences. “We hope that our efforts will be effective in protecting people and allowing them to return to a more normal life soon.”

Nursing students worked at immunization sites during their clinical rotations. Nursing students from the Hattiesburg campus have assisted at Hattiesburg Clinic.

“I had the chance to talk to patients as I was administering vaccinations and helping with paperwork,” said nursing student Noel Smith of Heidelberg. “Most of the patients I encountered at Hattiesburg Clinic were older adults or people who had underlying conditions, so they were very excited to receive the vaccine and happy to play a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“Some patients were worried about the side effects of the vaccine, but the CEO of the clinic, Dr. Bryan Batson, was available to inform patients of possible side effects and give additional information they needed.”

Tradition campus nursing students helped the Mississippi State Department of Health at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum. Nursing students from WCU at Baton Rouge General assisted at the Employee Health and Wellness Center at the hospital’s Bluebonnet location.

Students from the WCU School of Pharmacy have been assisting during their clinical rotations at Singing River Health System since mid-December.

The effort was organized by three assistant professors of pharmacy practice at WCU who also practice as pharmacists at Singing River: Dr. Michael Bounds, Dr. Ashley Hawthorne and Dr. Anthony Todd.

“Our faculty and students have been helping immunize employees and the public,” Bounds said. “Students have administered immunizations. They’ve prepared doses from bulk vials and distributed them to pharmacists and nurses.

“WCU pharmacy students have also helped with record-keeping, filling out Centers for Disease Control immunization cards with vaccine lot numbers.”

Bounds said WCU students have been part of a process that has distributed more than 18,000 vaccinations at Singing River through mid-February.

“Singing River Health System has done an excellent job managing scheduling, vaccine supply and staffing for immunization events,” Bounds said. “We’re proud to have been a part of their efforts.”

Other WCU School of Pharmacy faculty members practicing as pharmacists at health care organizations like Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Memorial Hospital in Slidell, La., and Coastal Family Health Center also organized students to assist with vaccines.

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