Six St. Louis University Accelerated Nursing students have spent the past month helping to make sure the school’s scholars have all of the vaccinations they need.
Led by SLU Instructor Deborah Artman, the six students, Emily Camper, Emma Nash, Kim Schaefer, Alexandra Feinberg, Andrea Heyes, and Jacob Voigtmann, have been scouring through student records, making sure that scholars’ vaccination records match up to the intricate requirements mandated by the state.
Artman said her students are going through each scholar’s medical file and making sure that all required vaccinations have been given within the proper timeframe and compiling a list of students missing specific doses, a list which the school will use to help provide scholars access to free vaccinations through a partnership with Affinia Healthcare.
“They are learning core functions of public health and all of the levels of prevention and how important it is to make sure that sure the students are adequately immunized to prevent any emerging diseases and outbreaks in the community,” she said.
Camper agreed, noting that processing the records, a duty the state requires schools, not trained health care professionals to do, had been an eye opening experience.
“I was not expecting it to be so hard to find the records for the immunizations,” said Camper. “You know most of the students have the majority of their vaccinations, but I think you loose some of that in documentation and trying to find the records.”
Artman said her students are helping the school as part of a public health course, one of five courses the students are taking this semester.
Saint Louis University’s accelerated B.S.N. option is an intensive three-semester, 12-month Bachelor of Science in Nursing program designed for students who already have a bachelor's degree in another area of study.
“We are doing a clinical rotation,” said Nash, explaining the work the students are doing in their public health course. “We are going to about four different places and helping to improve public health. What we are doing is totally different in each place. Some of our other locations are hospice care and home health stuff.”
“They are actually going into homes and doing home visits in some of their other work,” said Artman. “Then they will be doing vision screening at some elementary schools.
“It is great for them to be able to get out and have these real world experiences,” she added.
“You can learn stuff in a lecture in school, but until you are really out there seeing it and being involved in it, you do not really know what is going on,” agreed Nash.
“You learn how important public health really is and how many different things are considered public health,” added Camp. “Public health is really all around you.”
Artman said the students would also be using their experience at St. Louis College Prep in other courses.
“They are seeing the actual real-world implications of policy,” she said. “They can use that in their leadership and management course. It is giving them the background to say ‘Here is where it impacts us where we are doing work’ and then go tell legislators that this does not make sense and ask them to work on something to get it fixed.”
This is not the first time St. Louis College Prep has received support from the SLU nursing program.
“When I started with SLU in 2012 we helped the school with some education in classrooms and did vision and hearing screenings,” said Artman. “Then in 2014 we worked with them again, helping with some vaccination records.”
She said her students would continue to visit the school on a weekly basis as they finalize their review of the records.