SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Nursing students at San Diego State University are rising to the challenge of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. When the county needed volunteers to administer vaccines, students like Marcela Chappelle were eager to help.
"It just makes me feel really good," said Chappelle. "It’s really exciting."
She’s one of more than 200 students who completed training on how to vaccinate patients. She says the school’s nursing program teaches the fundamentals of administering vaccines in their early courses. So, for most of them, it was nothing new.
Students underwent additional training for COVID-19 vaccines. They had to learn what reactions to look for inpatients and they practiced administering doses using vials of water.
"Practice drawing up the proper amount, making sure there's no air bubbles, and then we practice administering them into a mannequin," said Chappelle.
You can tell she’s getting into the right-field because when asked about her impact on the community, she was beaming.
"Just how much we’ve seen everything change, and the world-changing so much," said Chapelle. "It’s just insane that I get to be part of this."
Students can only administer vaccines under supervision since they aren’t licensed yet. Associate Director of Nursing, Michael Gates, says it’s been quite a logistical challenge for the county to determine where students are needed.
"The Department of Public Health is organizing their schedules to find out where there’s a need for volunteers and people to help out," said Gates. "It’s a matter of if they have a need on a specific day. We’re right there, ready to jump in, but they’re the ones who need to tell us where we need to be."
Vaccines are also on a limited supply in the county. As county officials build out more infrastructure they will likely need more hands-on deck.
Chappelle says she hasn’t been called on yet, but she’s anxiously waiting her turn.
"When I look back at it as a seasoned nurse, I’m just going to think, wow, I was part of such a huge event," said Chappelle. "I was part of something that made a worldwide impact."
The nursing program says they plan to train another 120 to 130 students over the next week.