“To be there as a student nurse felt like being a part of history,” said Torregrossa, who helped check in and screen recipients before taking her turn administering vaccines. The first shots aimed at ending the pandemic were a momentous enough occasion that they were administered on a stage in the hospital’s Erny Auditorium, with local and national media, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, capturing the event. “I wasn't too nervous because I had a recently done flu shot clinic on the Health Sciences Campus,” Torregrossa said.
Dr. Tony S. Reed, chief medical officer at Temple University Health System, told the media that the day was like a “commencement… For graduations, it’s about where do you go from here? That’s what day one of the vaccination is,” he said.
For Temple nursing students, it became part of their hands-on training. Joelle Hargraves, the Department of Nursing’s undergraduate program director, says she sent a message to nursing juniors and seniors less than two days before the clinic, letting them know about the opportunity, “and 27 students volunteered overnight.” Each of the students will have an opportunity to assist. The students worked with Hargraves and adjunct clinical faculty members Shakay McClean and Malieka Young.
"The opportunity for nursing students to participate was priceless," said Hargraves. "They eagerly volunteered to be part of an interprofessional team and witnessed how nurse leaders formulated and implemented a seamless plan for immunizing essential health care providers. "
Following federal guidelines on how to prioritize which workers would receive vaccines first, Temple Health had offered it to approximately 3,000 employees who meet “high risk” criteria, those whose work location puts them at risk of close contact with COVID-positive patients and those whose departmental COVID positivity rate has been higher than average.