Emily Carroll of Narara is one of two final-year Charles Sturt University paramedicine students who have assisted with the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in Bathurst.
Carroll and fellow student Nicole Kennedy are studying the Bachelor of Paramedicine at the university’s School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences.
The two joined a small group of students who took on the task of assisting Local Western Health District staff of NSW Health in vaccinating people at several clinics in Bathurst.
Carroll said the opportunity to work in the vaccination clinics enabled her to make a difference in the community by giving individuals the best possible chance of receiving the vaccine.
“I recognise how important this vaccine is in reducing the effects of the pandemic and am pleased that I can be involved in this process,” she said.
“Also, it’s been very satisfying to aid healthcare workers who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and assist them to reduce the burden.”
The Charles Sturt vaccinators were required to complete one day of vaccination training with a registered nurse (RN) educator and the RN vaccinator manager.
They then worked shifts at Charles Sturt University Vaccination Hub, the Kelso Community Hub, and the mass walk-in clinic at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC), performing a range of roles.
“I did administration tasks such as check-in before vaccination to ensure each individual’s details are correct and placed in the system, and administration for check-out to ensure the individual has booked for future appointments and is feeling well,” Carroll said.
“I was able to observe patients after they received the vaccination, provide medical assistance if adverse effects occurred, and answer any questions and concerns of individuals.
“I was also able to prepare and draw up the vaccines and administer vaccines via intramuscular injections.”
Depending on the clinic and appointments available at each location, the students helped to vaccinate approximately 200 individuals per day at the on-campus Charles Sturt Vaccination Hub and the Kelso Community Hub, and between 600 to 800 people per day at the mass walk-in clinic at BMEC.
Carroll said she thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the experience, particularly providing after-care, including booking follow-up appointments and providing adverse event advice to individuals.
“This enables individuals to be reassured and aid them to come back to receive their future dose,” she said.
“I have also enjoyed interacting with individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life who are all doing their part to help the greater community.”
She said the experience helped her prepare for her future health career.
“The documentation processes and obtaining information are similar to that of ambulance services, so having experience will greatly help me in the non-clinical aspects in the prehospital environment,” she said.
“Due to such high turnover of individuals and limited interaction time, this also simulates the prehospital environment, so I was able to develop a positive relationship and rapport with the patient in a short period.
“The clinical skill of intramuscular injection will also assist me in the future as paramedics often apply this skill.”
After graduation, Carroll hopes to be employed by an ambulance service in either Australia or the UK.
Media release, Oct 21
Charles Sturt University