UPTON – Translating classroom knowledge into real-world experiences is an essential step for high school students. For 15 seniors in the Health Services program at Blackstone Valley Tech, an opportunity to assist at a regional collaborative vaccination clinic held at the former McCloskey Middle School, 62 Capron Street Uxbridge, on March 31, fulfilled a need beyond a valuable life experience.
“Our nursing assistant students are eager to assist their community in the fight against COVID-19,” said Justine Naper, MSN, RN, Health Services Instructor, and Team Leader at BVT. “With most of our seniors already vaccinated, we were interested in working at a clinic. When I heard about the vaccination clinics starting in Uxbridge, I reached out to the clinic coordinator, expressing our interest and offering assistance.”
Health Services seniors Jessica Brown of Douglas, Hannah Parath of Millbury, and Kaitlyn Manzi of Milford observe Melissa Blodgett, Captain/Paramedic-Uxbridge Fire Department, draw the vaccine up into a syringe.
“The vaccine rollout is still relatively new, and the undertaking is enormous. Being a part of a project of this magnitude has required a lot of planning,” said Shane Keville-Wagner, the Clinic Coordinator of the Uxbridge site. “We have been coordinating what everybody can bring to the table. Having BVT Health Services staff and their group of certified nursing assistants volunteer to help is fantastic. It is exciting to collaborate with our regional vocational technical high school and others to increase community involvement and volunteerism.”
BVT Health Services Instructor Amy Ferrandino-Bedard worked closely with this group of seniors to prepare for this clinic, reviewing coursework connected to their curriculum. She said, “They learned how to store, prepare, and draw up the vaccine into syringes, reviewing various vaccination administration techniques. Reviewed the screening questions required, the monitoring period, and why it is needed. It was truly a culmination of all they have learned.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity to attend the clinic and observe Melissa Blodgett, Captain/Paramedic of the Uxbridge Fire Department skillfully demonstrate various techniques,” said Jessica Brown of Douglas, a senior in Health Services at BVT. “I had previously watched instructional videos about how the Pfizer vaccine is mixed before being administered, but seeing Captain Blodgett, a BVT alum, mix the two parts of the vaccine right in front of me was a fascinating and compelling experience. My vocational-technical education is paving the way for me to help others and give back to the community too.”
“This clinic is a fine example of how our vocational-technical students use their career training to help their community,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael F. Fitzpatrick. “While the pandemic has presented many unique challenges, we are proud of our students and staff who are embracing new learning opportunities to help our neighboring towns.”