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On the frontlines: WVWC nursing students get dose of real-life experience, key players in on-campus and community vaccinations

BUCKHANNON, WV – With Upshur County residents still awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine, West Virginia Wesleyan’s School of Nursing – both faculty and students – have taken to the frontlines to help meet a local need for the Buckhannon-Upshur community and turn the tide on a global health pandemic that has plagued the United States and the world for nearly a year. 

John Taylor ‘21, a senior nursing major from Oakland, Maryland, was one of the scores of Wesleyan School of Nursing students who administered the vaccine on campus. 

“These vaccines are going to help someone and help them stay healthy,” said Taylor, who plans to pursue a career in health care in north central West Virginia after graduation. “I joined the health care profession thinking that as long as I can save or improve one life, I have accomplished my goal. 

“[Giving the vaccine] gave me that sense of accomplishment,” Taylor added.

As part of their clinical, hands-on training, second, third and fourth-year nursing students have currently provided 357 vaccinations to faculty, staff and students on Wesleyan’s campus. Wesleyan provided its first inoculations on December 31 and will continue through March.

Maddi Carpenter ‘22, of Belington, WV, shared that the experience of providing the vaccine was ‘surreal.’ Carpenter said: “Nurses risk their lives every single day in hopes of saving others. [Giving the vaccine] was an opportunity I never thought I would have.”

Carpenter is using her nursing training at Wesleyan to prepare for a career in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before seeking certification as a registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

In addition, Wesleyan’s nursing faculty and students have supported a community partnership to provide vaccinations and after-vaccine monitoring to the broader Buckhannon-Upshur community with Community Care of West Virginia, the Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur, WVU Medicine/St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Upshur County Commission.

“Wesleyan’s nursing students are affecting change and will have a place in our public-health history,” said Tina Straight, DNP, MSN Ed., CNE, RN, who is the Director of the School of Nursing at West Virginia Wesleyan. “It is an unprecedented hands-on experience for our students and it is providing them with an understanding of what goes into protecting the public’s health and the critical role nurses play in that effort.”

West Virginia Wesleyan offers prospective students – including currently practicing nurses – a host of opportunities to prepare them for a career in nursing. The College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to undergraduate students; and, offers a host of graduate program opportunities, including: a Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Leadership Advanced Practice Nursing Specialties (APRN) and Post-Graduate APRN); and, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP-Nursing Leadership, MSN to DNP-Nursing Leadership, BSN to DNP-Advanced Practice; and, MSN to DNP-Advanced Practice).

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