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Nursing students administer flu shots to Marquette community

Photo by Maredithe Meyer /maredithe.meyer@marquette.edu

Photo by Maredithe Meyer /maredithe.meyer@marquette.edu

Maredithe Meyer

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The university Medical Clinic and nursing students have administered 266 flu vaccines in the past two days in preparation for the upcoming flu season.

Junior and senior nursing students with clinical experience administer the flu shots on a volunteer basis.

“At this time of year, flu shots are a good idea, especially on a college campus because within the dorms, sickness goes around pretty quickly,” said Emily Lenz, a senior in the College of Nursing.

Tuesday was Lenz’s first time administering flu shots on campus, but she has previous vaccination experience from clinical work and her job at home.

“In clinicals, at this time of the year, we give flu shots all the time,” she said.

Lynda Connor, a registered nurse for the medical clinic, oversees the vaccinations. She said the benefits of this service are great for both the patients and the nursing students.

“It’s the comfort level that they (nursing students) get by the end of the clinic,” Connor said. “All of these girls have done in it in the past, but the more you do it, the better. When you’re in school, it’s a wonderful learning experience.”

Connor said each campus clinic has equipment, such as EpiPens, thermometers and ice packs, for any possible emergencies. She reviews this with the nursing students along with strategies to relax nervous patients.

Flu outbreaks can occur in the U.S. any time from October to May with a peak time between December and February, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends getting the vaccination as soon as it is available, or by October.

Kendra Loch, a third-year dentistry student, said she has received her flu shot on campus annually since she came to Marquette.

“It’s pretty easy access for me,” Loch said. “It’s convenient that it’s right here in the school, and (the nurses) do a good job.”

Nursing students learn to give shots by sophomore year in simulation labs using practice arms. The students can practice giving different injections as they gain more academic and lab experience. At the campus flu shot clinics, nursing students can gain experience with administering vaccines to patients as young as six months old.

“When we start clinicals, the nurses and our instructors make sure we are the ones giving the injections so that we can get familiar with them,” Lenz said.

On its website, the CDC recommends six ways to avoid the flu this season: Avoid close contact, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose, wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and practice good health habits. The CDC said the best way to avoid the illness is to get the vaccine.

Students, faculty, staff and their families can get vaccinations from now until the end of October for $25 at the Medical Clinic or campus locations including the Alumni Memorial Union, David Straz Hall, the Dental School and the Law School.

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