Temple University has put a flu shot initiative into place after the CDC released strikingly low numbers for annual flu shots on college campuses. Student Health Services has teamed up with senior nursing students to provide free flu shots for all members of the Temple community.
In the past, Student Health Services has worked with a professional medical team to provide flu shot clinics. The Director of Student and Employee Health, Mark Denys, says “We’ve been offering the flu shots for about the last 12 to 13 years, free for employees or students. Historically until last year we used all ADC Nursing plus our employee health nurses to help run the flu shot clinics.”
Although professional health staff may have been the way to go in the past, Temple is taking steps to engage its student body to be more involved in the areas they study.
“Last year the nursing students came in and did one clinic with us, a small cohort of them, and then this year they approached us about taking on even a larger role and as you can see we have a larger role. So a lot more of them are helping out this year. It’s a great opportunity for them. It helps us not have to bring out/in ADC nursing, so it’s a win-win for both,” says Denys.
Senior nursing students will also gain clinical hours for the hours that they spend giving flu shots.
Jennifer Baumher, a senior nursing student, believes that conducting the flu shots with Temple’s Nursing Program is very beneficial for students in the nursing program.
“So the cool part about this clinical experience is that it’s a public health project. Whereas our other clinicals we just show up to and we’re told what to do. This one we were more involved in the planning process,” says Baumher.
Bauhmer continued on to explain the planning process the students went through to organize these clinics.
“We had two meetings so far, full day experience, and we sat down in a big conference room and we all just got together and brainstormed. ‘How we can advertise? How we can spread the word? What the rotation is going to look like?’ All the different roles that we’d have to play today and kind of nail down as many details as we could, start-to-finish, so there was less left up to chance and we could be as organized as possible,” concludes Baumher.
This flu shot initiative is not just for students and faculty of Temple University, however. The team of student nurses this year is trying to expand this initiative into the community of North Philadelphia as a whole.
Pat DiGiacomo, an Assistant Professor of Instruction and the Undergraduate Program Director for Nursing, is proud to see the progress and interaction between her students and the community.
She explained “Our students today are senior nursing students in their fall semester. In the spring semester, that is their last semester in clinical, and then they will graduate, pass Boards, and then get a position. The students in this rotation had the opportunity to work with Mark Denys, the Director, as far as setting up the entire flu clinic. That also involved additional clinical faculty Dr. Barb Stevens and Dr. Tish Gill, as well as my director Marty Kubik.”
DiGiacomo continuously praises the work her students put into the setup of this project, specifically admiring their reach out into the surrounding communities of Temple University.
“What was really nice about this is our students coordinated some of the marketing piece, the education components, how we’re going to run the flu clinics here on campus. The other component that I really like is how we’re going to reach out the community members surrounding Temple University Hospital, and where are they going to get their flu shots. Our students actually put together a map of the different clinics that are available for our community members. So we’re out reaching not just employees, staff and students, we’re also reaching out to the community.”
Although in past years the CDC has revealed the low amount of participants for this important drive, Temple faculty and students are working their hardest to try to receive as many intakes as possible. With the changes Student Health Services is implementing, Temple hopes to see an increase of numbers of flu shots given over this next year.