When Faith Regional Health Services Occupational Health and Wellness Clinic in Norfolk called Liane Connelly, Ph.D., asking if the UNMC College of Nursing Northern Division in Norfolk wanted to participate in its drive-through Flu Drive on Oct. 13, she jumped at the chance.
Students in Norfolk had never experienced an event like this before.
"Giving a vaccine is a very minor part of a nurse's role; however, mastering that skill is a big mountain in a student's learning," said Dr. Connelly, assistant dean of the college in Norfolk. "Once mastered, it gives them the confidence to do other things. It builds confidence about what they have achieved and what they can achieve. They also learn how to run a community event."
With just a few days' notice, 10 students signed up. About 100 community members showed up to receive the flu shot. The goal was to get as many people immunized as possible.
Nursing student Heather Miller said the event increased her awareness about community health. "I thought it was a great way to decrease a possible communitywide flu epidemic. The event allowed me to gain experience and enhance my skills in giving intramuscular injections. I had to apply my nursing knowledge when consulting to see if the patient was allergic to eggs or is currently ill.
"It was great seeing the volunteers, students, and professionals come together to provide immunization prevention for the community. It truly put into perspective that healthcare isn't an individual entity but a collaboration of professionals."
Nursing student Cara Sherman said getting out into the community for the first time as a nursing student helped her start the transition from classroom learning to a physical application of concepts.
"Interacting with individuals seeking healthcare brings a physical application to skills and concepts learned in class," Sherman said. "I felt the event was such an excellent way for members of the community that do have a harder time getting around or those that have time constraints to be able to just get in their car, drive to the clinic and receive their flu shot without needing to get out of their car."
Great day for giving flu vaccines!