Serving the public

Nursing seniors administer vaccines at mass vaccination clinic

Throughout winter and spring quarters, senior Nursing students at Walla Walla University’s Portland campus worked to administer free vaccines to residents of the Greater Portland, Oregon community.

It’s estimated that over 60 students, studying epidemiology in their public health class, assisted the Oregon Convention Center’s mass vaccination clinic by administering vaccinations between January and June. They were able to provide free yet knowledgeable help and care. 

“We are a service profession,” said Lucy Krull, professor of nursing. “Nursing students are always just quietly serving because it’s the profession they’ve picked.” The nursing students actively live out WWU’s core theme, Generosity in Service, on a daily basis. 

Four main hospital systems: Oregon Health and Science University, Legacy Health, Providence Portland Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente worked together to help vaccinate the public. Kaiser, specifically, reached out to WWU and requested the help of the nursing seniors. Vaccines were placed in syringes by pharmacists and then administered by students. 

For several weeks, WWU was the only school participating in the mass vaccination clinic. In January, students started helping two days a week, but by the end of June they were helping four days a week. According to the clinic requirements, there was at least one faculty member present for every eight students. 

“We talked to them a lot about this unique moment in time — that hopefully there won’t be another pandemic perhaps in their lifetime and what a difference they were making,” said Krull. Most of the seniors who administered vaccines were taking a public health class which is already designed to discuss epidemiology and immunizations. “Our students give immunizations all the time when they’re in that class, but it’s usually to children who didn’t get all of their shots before they went to school,” said Krull. This year has provided the students with the opportunity to be part of something historic as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Posted June 23, 2021

A group of seniors at Walla Walla University's Portland campus pose for a picture.
Over 60 nursing majors assisted in administering vaccines at the Oregon Convention Center’s mass vaccination clinic.
Nursing seniors wait to administer vaccines at the Oregon Convention Center's mass vaccination clinic.
In January, WWU students helped two days a week at the vaccination clinic. By the end of June they helped four days a week.