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Davis Journal

School nurses have had to pivot during COVID

Oct 14, 2021 10:15AM ● By Becky Ginos

School nurses give vaccinations at assist in the Legacy Events Center COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

FARMINGTON—COVID has taken a toll on everyone but school nurses in the Davis District have gone above and beyond to keep kids and the community healthy. From testing to vaccinations – they’ve done it all.

“It started with testing at the Freeport Center,” said Jen Nielsen, RN District Health & Nursing Services Coordinator who just took over the post in September. “It was all outdoors and if someone was positive we’d find a way to determine who needed to quarantine.”

Then it morphed into testing individual high school sports teams, she said. “We had to pivot to see what it looks like to test 500 kids. We took turns doing that. We loved it actually. It gave us a chance to interact at a different level. The kids were fun, grateful and some asked us about our job. They were really flexible.”

By the end of the year they’d set up a vaccination clinic at the Legacy Events Center. “That was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a nurse,” Nielsen said. “From my standpoint it felt like we were doing really important work. People were so grateful. When some got that first shot they had tears in their eyes. They’d get out and give us a hug.”

They also received thank you notes and treats, she said. “Some would ask if they could get their picture taken with you. It was incredible. It felt like a community coming together. Behind the scenes they were setting up appointments and making follow up calls. It was an amazing operation.”

Nielsen said as things wound down it looked like it was over. “I thought it would kind of be a thing of the past. We took off our masks and the clinic shut down.”

Now this year the nurses have been tasked with Test to Stay. “We have 24 hour’s notice to gather a group of nurses along with the Davis County Health Department to test in schools. We’ve already done three elementaries this year. We tested 800 to 1,000 kids.”

She said again they were surprised at how nonchalant the kids were. “We were wondering if 5-year-olds would be scared or worried and how they would react. But they’d just plop down in the chair like it was no big deal. They would watch what we did with the sample. Some were curious. Our nurses were amazing to take the time with the kids.”

The vaccination clinic has reopened at the Legacy Events Center. “We have 30 nurses and every one of us has helped at both testing and with vaccinations,” said Nielsen. “They spend two of their five days doing one or the other. That’s the reason we’ve been able to do what we’ve done. It’s busy but rewarding. I have a really great team – I’m so lucky.”