HUDSON – The Hudson Health Department had some extra help available on Jan. 20 as it carried out a COVID-19 vaccination booster clinic at the Portuguese Club on Port Street in town.
Indeed, adult students in the Assabet Valley Practical Nursing Program were on hand to administer doses to community members in 480 time slots.
With that help, the Health Department was able to open its program to walk-in patients as well.
“We are so very fortunate to have the nursing students and they love to help, so it’s perfect,” Public Health Nurse Michelle Andrade told the Community Advocate.
Hudson hopes to boost vaccination rate
Eighty-four percent of Hudson residents had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the end of December, according to Health Department Director Kelli Calo.
Only 29%, however, had received their booster shot.
Calo told the Community Advocate that she hoped to improve those rates with this clinic, which saw the Health Department partner with Century Pharmacy.
Anyone needing their first, second, or booster shot was welcome.
Nursing instructors welcome opportunity for community work
Assabet nursing instructors Tina Sanford and Karen Sherman brought 14 of their 36 students with them to administer vaccines.
The students have a clinical session three times each week at rehab facilities and local hospitals where they work with patients, administer medications, do injections and assist with daily living tasks.
This was the first time this year that they were able to help administer vaccines in the community, though.
“With COVID, there are tougher restrictions on taking our students out,” Sanford said. “We have to protect both our students and the community as well, so we were happy to be able to help out here in Hudson.”
Speaking at the event, students said they were grateful for this opportunity.
Leon Nsubuga called it an amazing experience, while admitting he was both nervous and excited.
Nsubuga’s goal is to be a registered nurse. He’s also considering seeking his bachelor’s degree in nursing.
He will graduate from the practical nursing program with his classmates in June.
Hudson officials thank student nurses
The practical nursing program itself is a 10-month, full-time day program running from August through June. Graduates earn a certificate of proficiency in practical nursing and may take the NCLEX-PN exam for licensing as a licensed practical nurse.
In Hudson, local officials said they were grateful for the help.
“The students are amazing,” Calo said. “Helping us is a great clinical experience for them, and a great partnership for us.”
Vaccination efforts are ongoing. Find information on upcoming clinics at vaxfinder.mass.gov.