AU Nursing Students help with H1N1 Vaccination

Fri, 2010-05-14 08:15 -- univcomm
May 14, 2010

Kelley O’Hair had never given this type of injection before. She admits she was nervous, even though she didn’t show it. When the first car pulled up at 3 p.m., with her Anderson University professor looking over her shoulder and nurses with more than 30 years experience watching, she stuck the needle in an elderly man’s arm and gave her first injection flawlessly.

Seven hours and 150 injections later, O’Hair feels more than confident in administering the intra-muscular injection required for non-living H1N1 flu vaccine.

h1n1vaccinationO’Hair, along with other nursing majors, volunteered seven hours in the parking lot of Hoosier Park giving free H1N1 flu shots as part of their clinical experience. The Madison County Health Department sponsored the free clinic and in the end vaccinated over 2,000 community members thanks to the help of local nurses and AU nursing students. [Photo on left: Anderson University nursing student Allison Bachtel gives an infant in a car seat an H1N1 flu vaccination in her leg while fellow nursing student Kelley O'Hair comforts the child. Anderson University nursing students participated in a community-wide vaccination clinic.]

Patients stayed in their cars while the AU nursing students looked over their paperwork to see what type of injection was needed. Then they administered the shots to patients inside their vehicles, with up to eight people per car. “I have never done anything like this before, it was not conventional nursing,” said junior nursing major Alison Bachtel. This was the first time the health department in Madison County directed this type of clinic to the public.

“Even though people had been waiting for up to four hours for the shot, they were appreciative of what we were doing for them,” said Bachtel. “It was a great feeling to see the community helping each other. We were saving lives.” People with immune deficiency disorders cannot fight off this virus and could become deathly ill if not for this opportunity.

With nursing being a very interactive profession, AU nursing professors provide their students with practical experience in the field when possible. “We talk a lot in our classes about how to interact and communicate with patients and these clinicals are a great way to put what we learned to work,” said O’Hair.

Even armed with candy and calming voices, both Bachtel and O’Hair concurred the hardest part was being responsible for crying children. “They just see you as someone with a needle,” said Bachtel. “They don’t understand you are there to help them.” Four hours sitting in a car and anticipating a shot can make some young ones squeamish. One girl even had to be pinned down by her mother, after climbing back and forth over seats to elude the shot. After receiving the shot, the girl stopped crying, realizing the pain was not what she had anticipated. She walked away happy, with a sucker.

Anderson University offers a comprehensive four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and graduate degrees in three different tracts. AU provides a stimulating intellectual environment grounded in the sciences, liberal arts and Christian faith.

AU’s goal is to prepare nursing students to practice professional nursing compassionately and competently. The School of Nursing will help students think critically, creatively and independently in preparation for a life of service.

The paths that lead O’Hair and Bachtel to the School of Nursing at AU are different, but one thing remains the same—their passion for serving others. “When I do start working in a hospital,” said Bachtel, “I look forward to treating the person and not the disease.”

— P. Aaron Vogel is a senior from Fairmount, Indiana, majoring in communication arts with a minor in marketing. Vogel is an associate with Fifth Street Communications writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.