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    Students Grateful to Volunteer at Vaccine Clinics

    Students enrolled in The University of Scranton’s nursing program helped to administer vaccinations at a clinic on campus. From left: Autumn Forgione, clinical coordinator and assistant lab director at the University; nursing students Carly Oakes, Staten Island, New York; LilyAnne Stevens, Brick, New Jersey; Abigail Sheehan, Midland Park, New Jersey; Amanda Ring, Bridgewater, New Jersey; and Andrea Mantione, DNP, director of the Leahy Community Health and Family Center. More than 150 University nursing students and 12 Nursing Department faculty members and staff have volunteered to administer thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines at 15 clinics in NEPA.
    May 5, 2021

    From January 2021 to date, more than 150 University of Scranton nursing students, as well as 12 Nursing Department faculty members and staff volunteered to administer thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines at 15 locations in the Scranton area. Together, they have provided more than 350 hours of service in the fight to help end the SARS COV2 Global Pandemic.

    “I think this is a really important thing to do,” said nursing student Kathryn Antonawich, a senior from West Islip, New York. “The pandemic has affected so many people, so I wanted to do my part to help out.”

    That sentiment was echoed by other nursing students.

    “To be able to put in practice the skills I have learned in classes while also being able to help the community was the perfect opportunity for me,” said sophomore nursing major Victoria Barbosa of Scranton.

    “It is astonishing how interested and willing our students are to help administer the COVID vaccines. Last week, we put out a call for 16 volunteers for a vaccination clinic and the slots filled in 2 minutes – literally, in two minutes,” said Kim Subasic, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of the University’s Nursing Department.

    In addition to helping the community, volunteering at vaccination clinics allowed the nursing students to chance to hone their clinical and patient communication skills.

    “As a nurse, we give a lot of injections. Volunteering to administer vaccinations at a clinic was a great opportunity for me,” said Tianna Popstein, a nursing major in her junior year from Port Jervis, New York. “The Nursing Department set up areas for students to practice before going to the clinics, so I felt as prepared as I could be.”

    “The experience made me feel that I am ready. I am prepared go out into the field and help people,” said Antonawich, who will graduate in May. “By volunteering at so many vaccine clinics, I was able to strengthen the communication aspect that is such a huge part of nursing. I am now more comfortable and confident to begin working as a nurse.”

    Since January, student nurses, faculty and staff have volunteered at vaccination clinics at: The University of Scranton, Medicus Urgent Care, Throop Civic Center, VNA Olyphant, Abington Heights High School, North Pocono High School, Mount Airy Lodge, the Reserve Center, the Leahy Clinic, Lackawanna College, the Bhutanese Center in south Scranton, Montage, the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Dunmore Community Center.

    The student volunteer service opportunities were coordinated by Nursing Department staff members Colleen McGoff, nursing lab director; Autumn Forgione, clinical coordinator and assistant lab director; and Andrea Mantione, DNP, director of the Leahy Community Health and Family Center.

    Nursing faculty members who volunteered with the students were: Mary Jane DiMattio, Ph.D., professor of nursing; Forgione; Marilyn Highhouse, adjunct professor; Lisa Lesneski, Ph.D., associate professor; Ann Maire Loiseau, adjunct professor; Dr. Mantione; McGoff; Kirsten McIntyre, clinic nurse manager, Leahy Community Health and Family Center; Christine Pabst, adjunct professor; Dr. Subasic; Laurie Valunas, faculty specialist; and Cristen Walker Ph.D., assistant professor.

    “I am grateful for the opportunity to help the community. Who would have known that we would be doing this when we stared college a few years ago,” said Popstein.

    “If anything, the vaccine clinic experience helped solidify my decision to become a nurse,” said Barbosa. “I am 100,000 percent certain I made the right decision.”

    • alt placeholderUniversity of Scranton student nurses Amanda Ring of Bridgewater, New Jersey (center), and Carly Oakes of Staten Island, New York, review vaccine information with marketing major Ian Smith, North Wales, at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Byron Recreation Complex.
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