By: Joel Vazquez, Writer / Follow South Jersey Higher Education Intern
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — With the Atlantic City Convention Center transformed into one of New Jersey’s six COVID-19 vaccine mega sites, more than 100 Stockton University nursing students have joined the fight against the global pandemic.
The students break into groups of 10 and rotate through each section of the mega site as they are supervised by a Stockton nursing faculty member. They work alongside the New Jersey National Guard and AtlantiCare staff, and they even help administer vaccines into patients’ arms.
“These students are going to be able to say that they helped during an historic event, and they get to see what it takes to put on an event like this,” said Denise Petro, an adjunct nursing clinical faculty member in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
According to Petro, this is the first hands-on clinical experience for many of her students since the pandemic began.
“When I heard about this I was ecstatic,” Petro said in a press release.
Many of the students are either junior and senior students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing or college graduates who are earning a nursing degree in the Accelerated BSN program based at Stockton’s site in Manahawkin.
“It’s a blessing,” said Alexis Land, a Stockton student, in a press release.
Before the students began working at the Convention Center, they had to complete a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program. In this program, they learned about administering vaccines, post-vaccination monitoring, and proper techniques. They also completed an AtlantiCare course and quiz on COVID vaccinations.
The students arrived at the Convention Center on their scheduled day. Their morning would begin with a meeting in which they’d discuss the day’s plan and review the technique for injecting the vaccine into a patient’s arm. The students also meet with all the staff at the site.
“It really is cool to be a nursing student now,” Michaella Butrico, of Seaside Heights, said in a press release. “We are getting a different experience.”
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.