Ogeechee Tech

Real Experience: OTC Students Help Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

Nothing beats experience and the students in the Practical Nursing Program at Ogeechee Technical College are getting plenty while also giving back to the community.

Building on a program that has been in place for the last few years, the PNP students have been assisting the Coastal Health District by administering flu shots to children and COVID-19 vaccines to adults in Effingham County.

Students normally assist with administering flu shots to school aged children, but amid the pandemic, the duties of vaccination have evolved to include COVID-19 shots at the Effingham County Health Department under the supervision of additional medical personnel.

“The students are always well prepared when they arrive for clinic, they have been provided the syringes and needles for training before they come,” said Cynthia Grovenstein, County Nurse Manager for the Effingham County Health Department. “This year, there is a great deal of administrative work involved. Having the students help administer the flu shots and COVID-19 vaccine, allowed public health nurses the flexibility to complete schedules, reports, and answer questions from school staff and parents,” added Grovenstein.

Since 2009, OTC students have assisted in administering more than 24,000 vaccines to Effingham County students – approximately 10% of the student population each year.

“This has been a really beneficial partnership for OTC throughout the years. This season our students are getting the added experience of administering vaccines amidst a pandemic and getting the opportunity to work in an environment that has additional procedures and protocols to follow,” said Jackie Howard, a Practical Nursing instructor at Ogeechee Tech.

The process for administering the flu shots looked a little different this year than in the past. The shots are normally administered to students at their schools, however due to pandemic protocol, they were administered through car windows at the makeshift drive-thru that had been set up at the Effingham County Health Department.

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