Nursing students from West Coast University-Los Angeles finally got a chance to get back in the field this February by administering COVID-19 vaccines at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.
Led by WCU-Los Angeles nursing instructor Masha Crawford, the group said they were grateful to be taking part in the immunization effort, while also gaining valuable experience.
“Because of COVID-19, students have not been able to be in clinics and not practice as many of their physical skills,” Crawford said. “It’s nice to be in the hospital and to educate them about this disease and have them interact with the patients.”
MLK-LA Pharmacy Director Gilbert Chan said he was grateful to have the students’ help during the all-day event, which was open to seniors in the community, plus patients and employee family members of the hospital.
“It’s a great opportunity for the students to learn and participate in a community event during a pandemic,” Chan said.
Crawford, who also works full-time as an intensive care nurse in Santa Monica, said after seeing the impact COVID-19 had not only on the community but also on individual families, she took a lot of satisfaction in being able to educate while at the same time helping protect the public.
“This is definitely a great joy to me, and relief,” Crawford said, “because our ICU is still overloaded with COVID patients, some of whom are unfortunately dying — not all of them are recovering and coming home to their families.”
During the clinic, the five students worked with hospital staff to organize patients and administered about 100 vaccinations in total. Between patients, the students said they missed being among their classmates and couldn’t wait to be back in campus.
“I miss going back to the campus and seeing all the staff and students working together,” WCU-LA student Dominic Agsalud said.
The significance of contributing to the effort to end the pandemic — while still a student — was also not lost on the aspiring healthcare workers.
“It’s amazing to be a part of such a historic moment and be able to vaccinate people who are vulnerable and help protect the community,” WCU-LA student Kelsey Webb said. “I’m excited to be able to tell my kids in the future that I was part of something so historic, that they will be learning about in their history books.”