When H1N1 vaccine began to trickle in to the University of Iowa (UI) campus in fall 2009, the Student Health Service relied on a familiar resource to help vaccinate students. UI health sciences students, administering vaccine under staff supervision, formed a strong clinical and logistical foundation of the H1N1 vaccination campaign.
UI's nursing students have always helped with seasonal influenza vaccination clinics on campus, said Lisa James, RN, MSN, Interim Administrative Director, Student Health Service.
Clinical employees at Student Health Service work with two to three public health nursing practicum students each semester. As part of a student project, they recruit other nursing students to volunteer at vaccination clinics held in athletic training facilities and the main student union.
In fall 2009, students from the College of Pharmacy also volunteered to help with the H1N1 vaccination clinics in a variety of ways. Pharmacy students become certified to give vaccinations as part of their curriculum and "are eager to get hands-on experience," James said. The president of the student pharmacy organization coordinated volunteer recruitment from the student base and also gathered students volunteers' competency certificates so that Student Health Service would have their credentials on record.
Nursing and pharmacy students also helped with community vaccination clinics sponsored by the Johnson County Public Health department and the Johnson County Visiting Nurse Association.
Health sciences students showed a strong commitment to the vaccination effort. Student Health Service held its last H1N1 clinic in January 2010 during the first week that students returned from winter break. Most pharmacy and nursing students who had assisted with fall clinics returned in January to conclude UI's effort to vaccinate students on campus. "They actively sought out ways to help us. It was so amazing," James said.