In February, the Sampson County Health Department planned to expand their COVID-19 vaccination clinics to include Wednesdays. With that additional day came the need for more manpower, and in came Sampson Community College nursing students. Students from the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs have assisted with the initiatives of the Health Department administration and staff by providing direct care and support as needed, both at Sampson County and Harnett County vaccination clinics. Weekly, Sampson Community College nursing students assist with vaccination clinics on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Currently, Sampson Community College students have assisted with thousands of vaccinations in Sampson and Harnett counties at the Sampson County Exposition Center and the Dunn Community Center. Kelly Parrish, Director of Nursing at the Sampson County Health Department, says that this partnership has benefitted both SCC students and the local community.

Students and instructors from SCC assisted with vaccinations at the Sampson-Expo Center.
From left to right): Vanessa Cruz, Kysha Brown, Amber Sugg, Lauren Baxley, Sumyia Raynor, Keitora Smith, Jacqueline Blue, Jennyfer Rapalo-Canales, Yire Hernandez

“Sampson County Health Department has hosted several mass vaccination clinics and has seen a significant increase in productivity with the assistance from the nursing students,” Parrish shared, “Our goal is to vaccinate our community as quickly and efficiently as possible. This collaboration is truly beneficial for Sampson County and we look forward to fostering this partnership as we navigate the prioritization groups set forth by NC Department of Health and Human Services.”

Associate Degree Nursing student, Vanessa Cruz, administers the COVID-19 vaccine at one of several mass vaccination clinics at the Sampson-Expo Center.

According to Parrish, vaccination productivity is greatly increased when SCC students support. On average, the Sampson County Health Department administers approximately 175 vaccines per hour at drive-thru events, however with the help of SCC nursing students, that number increases to 200 vaccines per hour.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the country into major changes, including fully online and virtual classes at Sampson Community College, one of those changes included the exclusion of nursing students in clinical rotations. However, assisting with vaccinations has been a sort-of pseudo-rotation, allowing students to witness the role of a public health nurse firsthand.
Marleigh Manning Zacek, Chief Nursing Officer at Harnett Health, says aside from the support that students provide, their enthusiasm and commitment to serve is impactful.

Practical Nursing student, Lauren Baxley, administers the COVID-19 vaccine with the assistance of Dr. Veronica Stevens.

“The overall excitement they have to be helping out the community they serve. They are always so willing to help and with a smile,” Zacek remarked.

Vaccination clinics have also allowed students to put classroom learning and course objectives into action. Dr. Veronica Stevens, SCC Division Chair of Health Programs, says the skills utilized directly reflect what students learn in the classroom.

“Students are utilizing medication administration skills, specifically for intramuscular injections. They have been able to strengthen communication skills by assisting to collect subjective and objective data in preparation for vaccine administration. They are practicing professional behaviors and caring interventions among a diverse population. They are collaborating with other disciplines to provide a community-based service,” Stevens detailed.

Students will continue assisting with vaccination efforts in Sampson and Harnett Counties as mass vaccination clinics and efforts continue.

Nursing students helped with mass vaccination clinics at the Dunn Community Center.
From left to right: Jacqueline Evans, Megan Parker, Sandra De La Torre, Matthew Wilson, Sabrina Pope, Vaneshia Phillips, Sarah Sessoms, and Mackenzie Thompson (Courtesy Photo)

For more information about nursing programs at SCC, visit, or contact Ashley Register, Administrative Assistant for Health Programs, at or 910.900.4013.

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.