By Cole Caviston, Staff Writer
Pop music was blasted by overhead speakers as arriving students waited in line to be admitted to any one of the 10 tables set up in the back of the room. Nursing students waited there to administer the vaccine under the supervision of faculty and nurses from Health Services.
And high above the tables, twin PowerPoints detailed facts about the flu.
The annual Flu Vaccine Clinic was held in Granite State Room on Wednesday to provide free vaccines to UNH undergraduates from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The clinic was sponsored by University of New Hampshire Health Services in collaboration with the UNH nursing department. About 63 nursing students, all of whom are juniors, performed the vaccination.
After the shot was given, students were told to wait for 15 minutes at the other end of the room where orange juice, water and cookies waited for them, provided by Conferences and Catering.
Many students were pleased with how quick the process went by. Freshman Matt Crawford, who received his first flu vaccine at UNH, was also impressed that the admission line wasn’t overly long.
“It went pretty smoothly,” Crawford said. “When I first arrived, there really wasn’t anybody in line.”
Most students received word of the vaccine beforehand by an email sent out by Health Services, while others heard about it through word-of-mouth.
“This is my second time getting the flu shot,” junior Abby Peterson said. “A friend of mine is a nurse who told me about it last semester.
“It was very fast. I got here without a rush, went straight to my friend and had the shot taken.”
The nursing majors were divided into two shifts for the clinic: one for the morning and the second for the afternoon. As they worked, nursing faculty and nurses from Health Services walked among the students and supervised.
“We have four other faculty here, which are clinical faculty and RNs,” said Dr. Susan Fetzer, a faculty professor in charge of supervision. “We watch for technique, watch how well they draw up, offer suggestions to make sure they are practicing the right technique, and we also try to keep the flow of students going.”
Fetzer estimated that each nursing student had probably performed 10-20 shots that day. She also noted that there were only a few instances that day when students expressed their nervousness about getting the shot.
“The nursing students knew how to handle it, how to distract [the students],” Fetzer said. “They’ve come a long way. They’re getting a lot of good experience, and it’s a good ego-boost from them also.”
For the nursing students themselves, the clinic has been an event they have been preparing for and looking forward to since sophomore year.
“[Providing shots] is just a skill we’ve been learning, and we apply it here” said nursing student Charles Adler. “Coming in for preparation, we just have to be proficient in our skills — knowing to give an IM injection, knowing about the flu vaccine and knowing what questions to ask.”
The clinic has been a project since the beginning of September, according to Judy Stevens, a community health nurse and chair of the Health Services committee that planned the event. Much planning and organizing went into among other things — reserving the Granite State Room, ordering the vaccine for a good price, getting an LCD projector for the slideshow and refreshments for students who received their shot.
For Stevens, getting a shot is essential for students, particularly as the winter season approaches.
“We know how fast the flu goes through universities,” Stevens said. “With people living in close-quarters, people being under stress and not getting enough sleep, all students are at increased risk.”
Stevens was very pleased with the day’s turnout. Fetzer, however, said that the number of students was less than last year’s, and that more students turning up would have been appreciated.
“When you consider the population of the campus and how many people actually get the flu shot, it’s less than 10 percent, which means there are about 90 percent of people out there with the potential to get sick.” Fetzer said.