Nursing Students Gain Experience Through COVID-19 Testing

In the course Community Health Nursing, Taryn Burhanna’s students are required to complete 60 clinical hours and eight laboratory simulation hours. Burhanna, MSN, APRN, NP-C, community health nursing coordinator, wanted to ensure students in this course could get their hours and gain real-life experience by tapping into coronavirus relief efforts on campus.

As part of its strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19, Kent State University partnered with the Kent community to host the Ohio Pandemic Testing Team on the Kent Campus. Medical personnel from the Ohio National Guard administered free COVID-19 tests at the Kent State Field House Thursday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 29.

Burhanna incentivized her students to volunteer by counting this experience toward their clinical or simulation hours.

“I have always been looking for ways to give my students actual real-life work in the community any way that I could,” Burhanna said. “I thought this is a fantastic way to get the students face-to-face with our community members and for the students to see them, interact with them and know where the public is coming from when they are healthy.”

About 25 student volunteers from the College of Nursing and the College of Public Health assisted with the event. Roles included checking in and registering participants, verifying patient information on specimen labels, fielding questions and ensuring social distancing.

“No amount of education that we possess could have prepared us for something this surprising or this large,” said Katie Jaegly, who is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree. “This is new for students, professors and even professionals. It’s a totally different experience, but applying our learning to the tasks and seeing how the public reacted was satisfying.”

Jaegly worked at the registration table both days.

“It is interesting to see how the public responded and how they took advantage of the opportunities for testing provided by the health department,” Jaegly said. “I was encouraged whenever I could answer their questions and make them feel more comfortable as they were moving towards the test."

Nursing student Aniara Callipo (right)
Nursing student Aniara Callipo (right)
Due to the pandemic, nursing students like Aniara Callipo, a senior nursing major, said it was more difficult to complete the required clinical hours because of social distancing and other restrictions until this event and was pleased with this opportunity.

Callipo directed people in line and also worked at the registration table. She said she was delighted by the number of people who showed up to the field house.

“It is great that more people have access to a COVID test locally,” Callipo said. “So many people were able to be tested for free, which is helpful to those who might not have insurance or those who had never gotten a test because we were able to guide them.”

Burhanna hopes her students remember this moment as a vital learning experience.

“Had we not been in the middle of a pandemic, they would normally not have had this opportunity,” Burhanna said. “Whatever takeaway they get from the day, I just hope they can reflect and apply what they learned from class.”

Callipo said the knowledge gained from the testing event will translate into her nursing career.

“I feel much more comfortable talking and dealing with people,” Callipo said. “This class has taught me so much about community health, but this event helped to show what I still don’t know.”

Callipo stresses the importance of getting tested and hopes that more people will take part in future COVID testing opportunities.

“People don’t realize the impact they have if they don’t know they’re spreading the virus,” Callipo said. “Getting a test is a step in the right direction. You don’t want to get others infected.”

For more information about the College of Nursing, visit

For more on Kent State’s pandemic response and testing opportunities, go to

Banner Image Caption: Nursing students (pictured left to right) Sydney Veloski, Brookly Akers, Melissa Matz and Rebecca Lloyd.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 10:12am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 12:17pm
Brady Warmbein