Not many nurses can say they were students during a pandemic, helping to vaccinate the public against a novel disease. But 278 Clemson nursing students can make that claim — helping administer COVID-19 vaccinations at Prisma Health vaccination clinics in Greenville and Seneca.
Many students taking part already see the experience as knowledge they will pass on to children, grandchildren and future generations of health care employees. Annemarie Piccione, a junior nursing major, is one student who already feels the weight of history in the actions she and her fellow students have taken to help end the pandemic in the Upstate.
“This is making history, and I get to be a part of it,” said Piccione. “When I look back on my nursing education, I get to say I was a part of a pandemic and made an impact on my community in helping to end it.”
Prisma Health Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Carolyn Swinton and Kathleen Valentine, director of the Clemson School of Nursing and Clemson University’s chief academic nursing officer, coordinated on how Clemson nursing students could be involved. Since Jan. 14, Clemson nursing students have been helping administer COVID-19 vaccinations, as a part of their clinical education and under the supervision of their clinical faculty or preceptor.
“During this COVID-19 pandemic it is crucial that we collaborate with Prisma Health and activate our nursing students to meet the needs of our local community,” Valentine said. “The opportunity to provide this vital public health nursing care will become an enduring memorable event as these students progress throughout their career.”
Clemson and Prisma Health have been working together for many years on health and education collaborations. This is another example of one of the many ways the two institutions are partnering together.
“As an academic health center, we are navigating this pandemic constantly thinking of ways we can engage students, engage our community and create symbiotic experiences such as this one to educate our future workforce,” said Dr. Christen Hairston, executive director for student affairs at Prisma Health. “We love Clemson nursing and are so appreciative of their engagement and immediate ‘Yes,’ when we made the call.”
Clemson Corner is a bimonthly column on all things Clemson University. From individuals reaching new heights, research breakthroughs and discoveries, or events that can bring us all together, you’ll be able to learn more about the people who make Clemson, Greenville and South Carolina such a special place.