Nursing students strive for flu-free campus

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CW File

The Capstone College of Nursing also provides free flu shots to students. Junior nursing student Mollie Wallace administers a flu shot to sophomore Jessica Bell Tuesday afternoon in Daster Hall.

Colby Leopard

In an effort to keep The University of Alabama’s campus flu-free this fall, the University Medical Center and the Capstone College of Nursing are teaming up to give free flu shots to students, faculty and staff throughout September and October.

As a part of the UA No Flu Zone campaign, the University has purchased 8,000 flu shots to be administered by upperclassmen in the nursing program and University Medical Center staff. Students in NUR 324 – Fundamentals of Nursing volunteered to administer the flu shots for hands-on experience in the midst of flu season, Sara Kaylor, an instructor for the course, said.

“As one of my students put it, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Kaylor said. “The response from our students has been outstanding, and they are looking forward to enjoying a really fun event like this outside of the classroom.”

The campaign is targeting faculty and staff during September and students in October, Kaylor said. To reach the student population, No Flu Zone will be giving out shots in areas densely populated by students, such as the Quad. She said it should take no more than five minutes to get your shot.

Kaylor said the nursing students in her class have plenty of experience administering the vaccine and have practiced for many hours in the Clinical Nursing Lab and at Druid City Hospital.

“Our students are very familiar with the administration process and are ready to start giving flu shots,” Kaylor said. “By the time they have gotten to the flu vaccine clinic, they are very well prepared to be administering.”

Marie Eddins, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., who is majoring in nursing, said the No Flu Zone campaign is the first time she will be giving a shot to an actual person. Eddins agrees with Kaylor that the nursing students are prepared to administer flu shots across campus.

“The idea of giving shots to our peers was definitely a little scary, but everyone I’ve talked to is excited about the opportunity to get so much experience so quickly,” Eddins said. “We’ve had time to practice in the clinical practice labs with our simulator arms, as well as get plenty of teaching from our faculty. I don’t think there’s a way we could be better prepared for this.”

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, college students are more susceptible to catching the flu because of close living quarters, shared restrooms and many social activities. Kaylor said the No Flu Zone campaign will help reduce the number of flu cases at the University.

“We’re trying to have as many people vaccinated on campus as possible,” Kaylor said. “If we run out of the 8,000 shots we have, then we will just get more and keep administering them.”

Flu shots will be administered across campus until the end of October. To receive your flu shot, you must verify your status as student, faculty or staff at the vaccination locations.