Fort Worth Medical Students Help Administer Thousands Of COVID-19 Vaccinations To North Texas Residents

TCU AND UNTHSC School of Medicine Collaborates with TCU, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth and Tarrant County Public Health on COVID-19 Drive-Thru Vaccination Site.

By Prescotte Stokes III

FORT WORTH – Medical students at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine have been getting hands-on medical training inside clinics and hospitals since their first few days of medical school, however, administering COVID-19 vaccinations at a local drive-thru site felt different and historic.

“I was proud and honored to have an opportunity even if only in a small way to help fight against COVID,” said Shelby Wildish, a second-year medical student at the Fort Worth medical school. “I think it will be something I will remember for quite some time.”

The drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site is a collaborative effort between Texas Christian UniversityBaylor, Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth and Tarrant County Public Health. The site located at the Amon G. Carter Stadium on the TCU campus opened on February 27, to North Texas residents and administered more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines on the first day.

The drive-thru site is managed by more than 180 volunteers and staff from TCU, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth, TCU’s Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences and College of Science & Engineering and the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine faculty members and about a dozen medical students including Wildish and second-year classmates Adam Rosencrans and Karena Fassett volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccinations on March 6

“There have been other projects going on but this is the first where some of us have actually been out in the community volunteering since COVID began,” Fassett said. “It is kind of this cool almost poetic feeling that we’re getting back in the community to help prevent and stop the disease that kept us out of the community in the first place. It felt historic.”

Before the medical students could participate in the large-scale vaccination event, they had to complete a small training session with faculty members.

“The large-scale vaccination event is very important to the School of Medicine and we want both those who are getting vaccinated as well as our students to have the best experience,” said Kevin Kunkler, M.D.,  Executive Director for Simulation Education and Innovation at the medical school. “That experience includes training with faculty at the School of Medicine.”

Each student who volunteers must watch a video about administering the vaccine to patients and then follow up with a 15-minute in-person training session on injections. This training incorporates a check-list developed by Baylor, Scott, and White.

The students are able to ask Dr. Kunkler questions regarding administering the vaccination including technique training. Students were able to use a part-task trainer to prick the skin at the appropriate angle and depth as well as instill a simulated dose of the vaccine. Proper hygiene and skin preparation are also incorporated in the training.

“We want to make our students feel as confident and comfortable on performing these vaccinations, and so the students practice from introducing themselves, to asking about vaccination allergies, to identifying the appropriate site on the arm, and all the way to applying appropriate pressure, applying wound care, and providing appropriate instructions,” Dr. Kunkler said. “The students ask fantastic questions ranging from small variation in techniques to event logistics. They see this as a great learning experience and want those receiving the vaccine to be as comfortable as possible and to trust them.”

At the site, the students observe how one of the largest medical providers in North Texas, Baylor, Scott & White Health, uses a team environment and collaborative effort with TCU to ensure the drive-thru event runs smoothly.

“The flow here at the site is fantastic,” said Mike Sanborn, president of Baylor, Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth. “To be able to offer thousands of vaccinations to thousands of people and really provide them with some safety against the pandemic is just a fantastic opportunity. So we’re grateful for all of our partners that have really helped us set up this vaccination station.”

The streamlined and well-planned out approach to creating the drive-thru vaccination site took a lot of pressure off of the medical student volunteers, according to second-year medical student Adam Rosencrans.

“I kind of expected to have to do a lot of the prep work but really they made our role very easy,” Rosencrans said. “All the vaccines were lined up and all the doses were ready for us. All it came down to on my end was taking the supplies (vaccines) that were constantly being refilled and do my very small job of getting my materials, administering the vaccine and getting ready for the next patient.”

This was a unique experience for the medical students to be a part of as it emphasized the message of practicing medicine as a team, according to Chase Crossno, M.P.H., assistant artistic director at the medical school, who helps teach The Compassionate Practice ™ curriculum.

Crossno was on site with the medical students during their rotation at the drive-thru event on March 6.

“They need to keep the line moving so they needed to do their jobs swiftly and with compassion and attention to what they were doing,” Crossno said. “That whole system was so dependent on people believing in and connecting with each other. It was a beautiful demonstration of the diminishing of the power dynamics and a put emphasis on a really thoughtful and effective team environment.”

On March 6, the medical students helped administer 2,039 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. From verification to observation, took patients less than 30 minutes to complete – all from the comfort and convenience of their car.

Officials plan for the TCU/BSWH site to administer 2,500 vaccines a day at full capacity. Plans to continue the weekend drive-thru events will be shared in the coming days.

Registration Information

The site will serve those who are registered for the COVID-19 vaccine through Tarrant County Public Health and/or those who are registered through Baylor Scott & White Health. In accordance with state and federal guidance, distribution priority includes those at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 – those who fall into Phase 1A and 1B.

Tarrant County has advised all residents to register for the vaccine to make distribution go more smoothly once the various priority groups are reached. In addition to registering for the vaccine through Tarrant County Public Health, all residents are invited to register through Baylor Scott & White Health’s MyBSWHealth website or app, regardless of whether or not they are a current patient.

Baylor Scott & White Health will notify patients 48 hours prior to their appointment time. All patients must have an appointment; walk-ups or drive-ups without an appointment will be turned away.

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