McKendree gets behind vaccination campaign

McKendree University’s Division of Nursing has pledged its support to accelerate the engagement of nursing schools in efforts to vaccinate the public against the COVID-19 virus.

A new national campaign launched by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) elevates academic nursing’s role in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Since the earliest days of the pandemic, schools of nursing have focused on combating the virus by providing care to patients, leading prevention efforts, and safeguarding the public,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN president and chief executive officer, in a recent press release.  “As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the academic nursing community… is ready to play a significant role in strengthening the Biden administration’s goal for a more robust vaccination strategy.”

“By taking part in this campaign, McKendree University’s Division of Nursing supports this national effort to help our citizens and the communities where they reside,” said Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, division chair. “This commitment is truly consistent with our Division of Nursing’s mission and the mission of McKendree University. We are honored to join such a campaign to positively impact the reduction of the spread of COVID-19.”

The AACN has asked nursing schools to pledge their support to safely engage faculty, students and other stakeholders in the work underway to administer the vaccine and educate citizens on protecting themselves against the public health threat of the virus. It encourages nursing students and faculty members to get the COVID-19 vaccine at their earliest availability and to fully engage in helping their communities with its distribution and administration.

With more than 200 nursing students enrolled in its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs, and countless more alumni working throughout the Metro-East and southern Illinois, McKendree University-trained nurses are making an immediate impact. In addition to administering the vaccine, their work extends to community-based education campaigns, providing telehealth services, conducting contact tracing, and providing other key services.

Dana Longmeyer, FNP, a McKendree graduate currently pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at the university, exemplifies the AACN’s COVID-19 pledge in action. The nursing instructor at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Ill., worked with her senior nursing students and fellow faculty members at a vaccination clinic on Jan. 26, held in collaboration with the Madison County Health Department. They administered 104 first-round vaccines to health care students and faculty who chose to receive the vaccination, and monitored them afterward.

“Assisting with the COVID-19 vaccination clinic was a day of optimism for my students and me,” said Longmeyer. “Hope and healing is the foundation of nursing and we felt fortunate to convey these attributes to fellow healthcare providers. The pandemic and this agonizing time in history are not over yet, but it felt wonderful to be a part of an event that is going to get us there.”

PHOTO: Dana Longmeyer, FNP, administers a COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic held at Lewis & Clark Community College on Jan. 26.  

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