When nursing student Emily Mittl’s dad found out she volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccines, he told her he was proud of her for doing her part to help end the pandemic. But Emily (2nd from right in the photo above) didn’t see it as a big deal.
“To me it’s rewarding, and of course, I want to see COVID-19 come to an end, but it’s also no different for me from any other day at work,” she says. “This is my career path, this is what I want to do with the rest of my life—help people.”
Mittl is one of several Moravian College nursing students and faculty (see below) who have volunteered to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in the local community. A senior, Mittl volunteers through both St. Luke’s and Lehigh Valley Hospitals to give the vaccine. She has been working with Lehigh Valley Hospital since the beginning of the semester and with St. Luke’s Hospital for the past few weeks.
As she vaccinates, it reminds her that the path she has chosen is the right one. “It’s nice to see healthy people who want to protect themselves and to do my part to hopefully end this pandemic. It is a small act of kindness that can help the masses. It also reestablishes that the healthcare field is where I am meant to be.”
The opportunity to work in local COVID-19 vaccine clinics presented itself through an email from Moravian College’s Nursing Program Director, Dawn Goodolf. Interested nursing students filled out an online application and interviewed for a spot. Even for students like Mittl who are trained to inject other vaccines (like flu) into the deltoid muscle, both St. Luke’s and Lehigh Valley provided specific training on how to give the COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, Mittl’s experience in the local COVID-19 vaccine clinics has been nothing but positive. “People are usually pretty happy to see me, which is a little different from what I’m used to,” she says. “Often, the patients I see are in the hospital to get care for something unexpected or a for a serious condition they are trying treat.”
Even when patient crowds waiting for the vaccine have been at their largest, Mittl says she hasn’t once feared being infected with COVID-19. As a healthcare provider, she herself has received two doses of the Moderna vaccine. But she says even if she had not yet been vaccinated, she would not be overly concerned. “All the people coming into the clinics are healthy and masked,” she says. “Of course, there’s the risk of asymptomatic transmission, but I’m still not nervous.”
Nerves are clearly not an issue for Mittl, who hopes to get a job in a local emergency department after she graduates in May. “My ultimate goal is to get my pre-hospital registered nurse (PHRN) certification and work Medivac as a flight nurse.”
Mittl says almost every patient has said to her after she has vaccinated them, “thank you for doing what you’re doing.” And she always gives the same reply: “thank you for getting vaccinated.”
“People have to both give and get the vaccine in order for it to work,” she says. “With all of us working together, this is hopefully a first step toward what we’ve all been striving for in this pandemic—some sort of normalcy.”
Nursing Students and Faculty Who Are Assisting with COVID Vaccinations
Seniors: Brooke Adams, Molly Burton, Mae Dienes, Olivia Emrick, Anna Hambleton, Alexa Hicks, Sophia Hochfeld, Emily Mittl, Danielle Petrovic, Natalie Stabilito, Abby Stocker, Nicole Zangara.
Juniors: Victoria Kately, Anna LaDuca, Kayla Mitman, Danalyn Roncolato, Maddie Stolarski.
Post-Baccalaureate Students: Wohbenyi Betrand, Madison Capuano, Aqsa Chaudhry, Mary Kate Fahy, Kyle Glouner, Devon Haggerty, Kelsie Hilsenbeck, Taylor Irr, Anna Neamand, Taralyn Ordemann, Shar Perez, Julia Romaniello, Jennifer Szerencsits, Steven Thomas, Justin Tindull
Faculty: Paulette Dorney, Dawn Goodolf, Karen Groller, Deb Halliday, Donna Keeler, John Mikovits