Health & Medicine

Inject and Protect

Student helpers provide a shot in the arm for vaccination efforts.

Close up of vaccine being administered

Being part of the pandemic recovery has been a profound experience for UW pharmacy and nursing students. Bryce Richter

UW pharmacy and nursing students lent a hand in the effort to get Wisconsinites vaccinated against COVID-19 last semester.

The UW System accelerated vaccination training for pharmacy and nursing students, with some receiving a $500 tuition credit for helping during the pandemic. Wisconsin deployed mobile teams to help support vaccine distribution in rural areas, and some of the student volunteers joined National Guard staff giving the shots on the go.

UW–Madison pharmacy students Maggie Hoernke x’22 and Nikki Batterman ’20, x’23 cochaired an initiative to recruit some 275 fellow students to help. In addition to volunteering in the mobile clinics, they vaccinated Wisconsinites at pharmacies and clinics.

“Right now, this is a huge public health priority, and we really need all hands on deck,” Hoernke told the School of Pharmacy in February. “As a student, I’ve gotten great practice with my immunization techniques and patient counseling, all while serving the public and building immunity in our community.”

At press time, more than 180 nursing students had also volunteered to give vaccines. Jessica Coburn, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing who supervised them, says, “The students have been really engaged with the community. They’re so happy to be part of the pandemic recovery. It’s been kind of a profound experience for them. … It really embodies what they pictured being a nurse would be like.”

Published in the Summer 2021 issue


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