Nursing Student Reflects on Volunteer Experiences at Vaccine Clinics
Allie Rodriguez was a senior nursing student in her community rotation at Kent State University College of Nursing when the Kent State Field House was designated as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site clinic for Portage County and the surrounding areas. She and her classmates were among the first nursing students offered the opportunity to volunteer at the clinic and she jumped at the chance to put into practice what she had been learning.
“At that time, we were actually learning about the response system involved with mass vaccination sites. It was really cool to see that in action,” reflected Rodriguez. “Our lab required volunteer hours of some kind and I specifically wanted to volunteer at the vaccine clinics. This was a historic moment and I wanted to be able to say decades from now I was part of that response system. I helped administer all three vaccines. We saw improvements in our community and nation.”
Rodriguez volunteered for two days at the Field House and one day at the Kent State Ice Arena during the spring 2021 semester. On her scheduled days, she arrived two hours before the clinic opened to the public. She and the other student volunteers received a briefing from the Kent City Health Department, who was hosting the clinics in partnership with Kent State University, about how the day would go and the various responsibilities at each of the stations. The students worked two-hour shifts for check-in, check-out, vaccine administration, symptom monitoring, and data entry. Rodriguez estimated she administered 40 vaccines within a two-hour shift.
“I was very happy to have the opportunity to volunteer at the vaccine clinics. It was a privilege to be able to help our community while supplementing my learning experience,” stated Rodriguez. “I'm now interested to see how other clinics are run. I would definitely like to volunteer more in the future.”
Observing nurses throughout the duration of the pandemic, Rodriguez shared her admiration for their ability to spring into action wherever needed.
“Nurses are so quick to take action and that requires a lot of compassion and bravery. I look at the vaccine clinics and I am amazed at how those were organized and operational within a few short weeks,” said Rodriguez. “I see what nurses can do and how they can adapt, improve and change in an instant. I definitely want that in my career. My experiences with the vaccine clinics taught me to be open-minded and adaptable as a future nurse.”
Rodriguez will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in August and looks forward to joining the nursing profession. Although her family relocated to Georgia during her sophomore year, Rodriguez plans to stay in Ohio with the goal of obtaining a position at a Cleveland Clinic facility.