FARGO, N.D. • For the next five weeks, more than 55 North Dakota State University upper level students from the NDSU School of Nursing will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine at community vaccination centers managed by local health providers.

“This unique opportunity is helping the community’s greatest need by vaccinating the public and healthcare workers,” said Shannon Harriger, assistant professor of nursing practice who supervises students who have received training in vaccine administration.

Luiz Chavez, who is in the Class of 2022, said he wanted to participate in the vaccination clinics to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It gives me the opportunity to educate patients and gain experience administering vaccines,” said Chavez who is from Fargo. He hopes to work in an intensive care unit after he graduates.

Nursing student Annie Gatzke from Miller, South Dakota appreciates the opportunity to help the community.

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“This time in all of our lives will be something we will never forget, and I will take pride in being a part of this event in our community,” said Gatzke. “Giving the COVID-19 vaccines solidifies my education.”

Gatzke also notes the importance of vaccination. “To me, the vaccination represents hope. A hope that we will return to what we used to call normal. I feel it is also so important to get vaccinated for all of those people with weakened immune systems. Get vaccinated for you and your community!”

She said her favorite aspect of taking part in the vaccination clinics centers on community members.

“When I asked a patient how he was doing, he replied, ‘I am great; it is you people who we are worried about.’ Although this patient may have been considered in the ‘at risk’ population and more isolated than normal, he was still worried about the healthcare workers in his community. The Fargo community is so caring, and I loved giving back to this community who supports NDSU and my education so much!"

After she graduates in 2022, Gatzke hopes to work as a nurse in an emergency department or intensive care unit in Fargo.

The NDSU School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions provides bachelor’s and graduate nursing education. Programs are available for part- and full-time students, working professionals and those seeking online educational opportunities.