Over the last two weeks, Missouri State nursing students and faculty have been helping at various vaccination clinics across the Ozarks.
Last Friday, Greene County, in partnership with the Missouri National Guard and local health care systems, held their first mass vaccination clinic at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Nursing students, alumni, and community members joined the efforts to administer 1000 COVID vaccines.
Senior nursing student, Breanna Forni, shared her thoughts on the experience.
“After a year of lockdown, a year of avoiding community, a year of anxiety and isolation for many, it felt really good and empowering to come to a huge public space and connect with thousands of strangers and be a part of a global, scientific effort to overcome the virus.”
“As a BSN student, I felt empowered to be putting the skills I’ve learned in class and clinicals directly toward the cause of ending the pandemic. Participating in the vaccine drive was confirmation that I have chosen an academic major and career path that will directly serve my community and humanity in real, measurable ways,” Forni said.
Senior, Meg Voigt, was also at Friday’s event. “I felt very excited to be a part of something so huge as giving these COVID vaccines to the public, and it was also a great opportunity for me to practice my clinical skills. It felt like I was making history. Everyone was so grateful towards us that we were out there working all day giving vaccines, which felt very nice. The volunteers from the Air Force were a huge help as they were directing the cars. Many people do not like having needles in them and were scared and something memorable that happened during the day was this older woman must have been frightened and suddenly I hear this nurse at the station next to me singing the itsy-bitsy spider to her as she was administering the shot to distract her. She and her husband were extremely grateful towards this nurse and I just thought it was amazing and clever that the nurse made her feel so at ease this way. I really loved it,” Voigt said.
Dr. Jeanie Skibiski CRNA, stated “it was very rewarding to provide this service. They were so grateful to receive their vaccinations.”
On January 28, Dr. Kathy Adams and a group of senior nursing students helped Christian County’s health department during their vaccination clinic at First Baptist Church in Ozark.
“Volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic with Christian County Health Department was one of the most rewarding experiences in my nursing career. Each person had a story about the past year and was elated to have the opportunity to receive the vaccine. We spent time laughing and happy crying together. My heart is full,” Adams said.
Dr. Adams looks forward to joining her students again and volunteering at additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics with CCHD on Feb 11th and 18th.
Senior, Lexi Browning was also at the Christian County Clinic. “Many older adults told me how thankful they were for this opportunity since they had lost friends and family members to this virus. It felt great to help them register and get the vaccine to provide hope during these tough times. They were so thankful us nursing students were there to help. It was such a great feeling,” Browning said.
Senior, Emily Fengel, joined other nursing students and community members at Polk County health department’s outdoor COVID clinic on January 29. Over 350 vaccines were given at that event.
Fengel is continuing to work with Polk County during their outdoor clinics.
“I have been able to work weekly with some of the most kind and compassionate nurses that I have ever met. A great deal of time and planning must be put into the clinic and they go above every day for those that they serve. I have very much enjoyed working with this incredible team and vaccinating residents of Polk County,” Fengel said.
More opportunities to help are popping up across the Ozarks, including this call for volunteers from Stone County Health Department. They are requesting volunteers to help with regularly scheduled clinics as well as larger events sponsored by the National Guard. These events will be happening over the coming days and weeks. Medically trained and non-medically trained volunteers can fill out this google form to express interest in helping.