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U of U nursing students get hands-on experience fighting COVID-19 at Urban Indian Center

Posted at 7:25 AM, Feb 24, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Nursing students at the University of Utah used their new skills over the weekend at a vaccination clinic at the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake.

"They learn a lot of skills in the lab, and you learn how to give shots, but it's a really good opportunity to able to use that skill frequently," said Emily Royce, a registered nurse with University of Utah Health.

UICSL serves American Indians and Alaska Natives who live in the Salt Lake Valley area. Since January, UICSL has run a COVID-19 vaccination program three days per week.

"As a native organization, we have a responsibility to provide healthcare services to our American Indian and Alaska Native community," said Maurice Smith, UICSL's executive director. "We're fortunate to have a wonderful standing relationship with University of Utah College of Nursing."

UICSL teamed up with the University's of Utah's College of Nursing to accelerate Moderna inoculations and give the nursing students practical, hands-on experience.

"Some people were definitely more hesitant about getting the vaccine and that’s where patient education is just so important," said nursing student Sydney Sheffield. "It really was an honor for the College of Nursing to be able to serve the Native Americans and Indigenous populations of Utah because they are such a susceptible population."

More students will have similar opportunities on March 21 when some of the people UICSL serves return for their second doses.