Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s Pecos Campus is currently serving as a point of dispensing (POD) for COVID-19 vaccinations, operated by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Dignity Health. Since opening on December 21, over 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to priority groups at the Pecos Campus POD - 25% of the total doses provided to the county. In addition to allowing Chandler-Gilbert to serve the community, hosting this POD has provided a unique hands-on learning opportunity for CGCC nursing students.
In order to put their skills to good use, Chandler-Gilbert nursing students are provided with the opportunity to volunteer at the POD in a variety of capacities, including administering COVID-19 vaccines, monitoring patients for adverse reactions and educating patients on the vaccine and vaccination process. Students volunteer for 12-hour shifts, putting the skills learned in their courses into practice in order to support our already-stretched healthcare professionals. Each student interacts with as many as 300 patients as part of this clinical experience. Beyond the patient experience, nursing students are coached and trained by Dignity Health nurses before beginning their shifts.
“The Pecos POD was the first in-person clinical that my nursing cohort had, and to say that we were excited, yet terrified, to get some hands-on experience with patients is an understatement,” shared CGCC nursing student Naomi Aklin. “As the day went on, I found that my shot technique was great, and I had naturally started to be able to connect more with the patients during our short interaction time. It was a great combination of technical skill learning and therapeutic conversation skill practice.”
“I personally administered 42 shots during my shift,” said CGCC nursing student Jill Fagan. “In a normal block 1 clinical, I may have been able to perform 5-10 injections over the course of a semester. This experience gave me confidence in administering shots and courage to practice my other nursing skills.”
“I think it was great practice for engaging in patient communication, encouraging cohort teamwork and administering injections,” said CGCC nursing student Julia O’Neal. “Prior to volunteering at the POD, I had only practiced on mannequins and felt shy to approach real people. Volunteering definitely boosted my confidence to prepare me for real-world clinical scenarios.”
Not even unseasonably cold weather and driving rain could stop nursing students from assisting.
“It was challenging standing in the cold for 12 hours, and there were periods of heavy rain when I volunteered,” said O’Neal. “Getting this real-world experience and seeing how grateful people were to receive the vaccine made it all worthwhile. It reinforced my career choice in a powerful way.”
“One of our primary goals is to serve our community, and the COVID-19 vaccine POD at our Pecos Campus exemplifies our commitment to bettering the world around us,” said CGCC President Dr. Greg Peterson. “We are honored to have our nursing students serve on the front lines of COVID-19 vaccinations. This opportunity was made possible through our proud partnership with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Dignity Health. This invaluable experience will allow our students to begin their careers with even more confidence and gives us hope for the future of our healthcare leaders.”
CGCC’s nursing program is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). For more information on the nursing program’s Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree and future cohort openings, visit https://www.cgc.edu/degrees-certificates/health-sciences/nursing-3812-aas.
Please visit https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/ to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Maricopa County, please call 602.542.1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.maricopa.gov/5641/COVID-19-Vaccine.