The Trenton Department of Health Mobilizes TESU’s Accelerated BSN Program Staff and Students to Help Administer COVID-19 Vaccines
What do you do when you have a sudden surge of hundreds of Trenton area residents who were prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and a limited number of healthcare professionals to administer their injections? You call in reinforcements.
That is precisely what the Trenton Department of Health did when they mobilized Thomas Edison State University W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing staff and students to help administer the vaccine on Wednesday, Feb. 3, to hundreds of local residents.
“It was a communal effort to be sure and a lot of scrambling in the 48-hours leading up, but the system ran flawlessly once it fell into place,” said Yvette Graffie-Cooper, MPH, Public Health Officer for the City of Trenton, who helped marshal the nursing students and staff in administering the vaccine. “The vaccine, which had been in transit to the Trenton Fire Department’s Perry Street location, was stalled in Kentucky during the winter storm, but we managed to receive the 400 doses needed from St. Francis Medical Center an hour-and-a-half before the first recipients began lining up for their doses on Wednesday.”
Graffie-Cooper, Trenton Department of Health personnel, Trenton EMS, Trenton Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Trenton-based Internist Philip Bonaparte, M.D., along with Thomas Edison State University and Mercer County Community College nursing program students, their instructors and deans, all fell in line. Those who volunteered in the effort helped to shepherd members of the community through the process of receiving the first of two Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The event was part of a larger initiative by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ-DOH).
“Our school is deeply committed and connected to the city of Trenton, and to its healthcare and social service institutions,” said Dr. Filomela “Phyllis” Marshall, dean of the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing. “When the call came in to help with the effort, we instantly and eagerly mobilized our staff and students.”
TESU students administering the vaccines Wednesday are enrolled in the school’s full-time hybrid (online and onground) Accelerated BSN Program. Students who come into the program – notable for its high NCLEX pass rates – remain focused on their courses and clinical experiences during the 12-month academic sprint.
“Those enrolled in the program have made the bold decision to become nurses during a global pandemic; as a result, they represent an extraordinary group of nurse professionals who will enter the local healthcare field,” added Marshall. “This is an ongoing effort, and we will continue to collaborate with the city in rotating students through the vaccination program as the statewide rollout continues. The entire community benefits from this ongoing relationship. Our students and the University have the opportunity to play a vital role in this remarkable public health initiative for the residents of Trenton.”