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For this group of Carolinas College nursing students, the task sounded simple enough. As each patient drove up one-by-one, the student would give them a COVID-19 vaccine shot. The next car would pull up, and the process would get repeated – hundreds of times during this particular clinic outside of Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center.

The job was straightforward. But the emotions that came with it? Not at all.

“This was definitely an experience that I will always remember,” said Lexy Shook, a student in the Carolinas College Associate Degree Nursing program (ADN).

Vaccine Clinic Makes Lasting Impression on Nursing Students“By far, the most memorable interaction that I had with a patient during the drive-through clinic was the patient who was so excited and happy to be getting that vaccine that she began to cry as I was administering it,” she said. “She was so excited that she would finally get to see her grandchildren and finally meet her new grandbaby that was born while people have been quarantining at home. I know she is one of those patients that will always have a spot in my heart, and I will always remember her when I think back on my time of the vaccination clinic.”

Several groups of students from the ADN Maternal/Neonatal Health class helped administer vaccines over multiple days at the vaccination site, playing a pivotal role in Atrium Health’s effort to administer vaccines to as many community members as possible. The system has announced a goal of delivering 1 million shots by the Fourth of July.

“One patient explained to me that she had been waiting a long time, and that she finally felt some sense of relief,” said ADN student Lauren Wright. “She was almost in tears because of how ecstatic she was. It made me feel grateful that I had gotten the opportunity to vaccinate someone who had been waiting a long time for that moment.”

Another ADN student, Hunter Rankin, was deeply touched by his experience vaccinating one couple in particular.

“While I was talking to them and confirming their first and last name, the husband wanted to stop and soak in the moment,” Rankin said. “He even got choked up a little bit when he told me that he hasn’t been able to see his grandkids in person. He finally felt safe enough to see them, and he expressed how much he was looking forward to it. Little moments like that are why we get into nursing.”