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UC’s health students to administer COVID-19 vaccinations

Danielle Meddemmen

25 August 2021: Final year nursing and midwifery students at the University of Canberra will be giving back to the ACT community, rolling up their sleeves to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

The announcement was made by ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith on Wednesday, and will see the students assisting in Canberra Health Services’ vaccination hubs across the Territory.

The Faculty of Health’s Discipline Lead in Nursing, Dr Joanne Lewis, said this was a wonderful opportunity for University students to give back to the Canberra community.

“We are excited to safely support our students to help with this important service, which also gives them the chance to use and strengthen the skills they have gained with us,” she said.

“As nursing staff and students, we want to do everything we can to contribute and help with this COVID-19 crisis, and this is the most logical way we can do that.”

The final year students are eligible to administer vaccinations following the completion of their second-year pharmacology unit, and a set of government-mandated training modules.

Students were given access to the training modules, ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, which comes alongside reports of over 400 ACT health workers in quarantine due to the recent outbreak.

Third-year nursing student Hannah McDowell said she is excited to be able to offer her services and administer vaccinations through Canberra Health Services.

“It all comes down to being able to do our part. We have been training for years to be part of this workforce and to be able to jump in a little bit early is a privilege,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity to help when it’s needed and to be of service to the larger community.

“I have just completed a four-week placement in the emergency department on the frontline, so it would be hard to sit on the sidelines and not help when the ACT community and health system need it most.”

The Faculty of Health’s Executive Dean, Professor Michelle Lincoln, said she was looking forward to seeing the University’s students on the frontline.

“The University has been working closely with ACT Health to ensure our students can join the ACT’s response to COVID-19, and our students are ready and willing to play a role in protecting our community against this virus and to help ease demand on the ACT’s health workforce,” she said.

“We are excited to see our students use and strengthen the skills they have gained through their studies at UC, and will be supporting them every step of the way.

“We will continue to work closely with ACT Health to provide the necessary support moving forward.”