Nursing Students Step Up to Vaccinate

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden student Leslie Demark SNC’21 gives Camden resident Norma Bell her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Camden County vaccination clinic at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Camden.

By Christina Neal SNC’21

Students from the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden answered the call to help “get shots into arms” when vaccines for COVID-19 became available. More than 400 nursing students and faculty volunteered at two Camden County sites, including one in Camden at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Camden City Councilmember Angel Fuentes, who received a vaccine shot at the Kroc Center, applauded the Camden clinic that opened in February and provided free vaccines to city residents. “People ask, ‘What about us? The minorities, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans?’” he said. “There are no excuses here in Camden city. Residents from all over the city can come to the Kroc Center and get an appointment for their vaccine. This is very essential for our community.”

Rutgers–Camden partnered with Cooper University Health Care and other community organizations to staff the Kroc Center clinic. Rebecca Bryan, the School of Nursing’s director of community development, said the nursing school is proud to play a role in protecting Camden residents. “Many community members in cities like Camden struggle daily with basic social determinants of health, such as safe housing, the ability to socially distance, technology, food security, and adequate health care services,” Bryan said. “At many clinics, the overwhelming majority of vaccine recipients have been white, suburban individuals. Offering vaccines at the Kroc Center is a game changer for a community where so many residents of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic are frontline workers.”

Nursing students also volunteered at the Camden County vaccination center in Blackwood, checking in community members, answering questions, and administering vaccines. The clinics gave Rutgers–Camden nursing students an opportunity to help contain the virus’s spread and get hands-on experience while fulfilling clinical rotation and volunteer requirements. “I was emotional after administering the vaccine for the first time because I have seen personally how sick the infected can get,” said Anastasia Dudzinki, a senior nursing student from Franklin Park who worked at the clinic in Blackwood. “The vaccine feels like the first rays of sunshine after months of rain.”

Christina Neal, a senior nursing major from Franklinville, New Jersey, volunteered at the vaccination clinic in Camden.

Posted in: 2021 Spring

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