Olympic Poulsbo Nursing Program hosts drive-through vaccine clinic

Supported by the Kitsap Public Health District and Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center, Olympic College-Poulsbo now offers a drive-through vaccination clinic.

The clinic will be distributing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and will be open Tuesdays-Fridays as long as vaccines and appointments are available. Folks eligible to receive the vaccine can register by calling 360-728-2219. A portion of appointments is set aside for those who have trouble registering online or have other barriers that may prevent them from getting vaccinated.

The clinic initially opened March 18 with roughly 100 appointments scheduled, followed by 200 scheduled appointments the next day.

“Our goal is to vaccinate Kitsap residents as safely, efficiently and equitably as possible,” district health administrator Keith Grellner said.

The Nursing Program at Olympic at both the Bremerton and Poulsbo campuses has played a key role.

Alecia Nye, dean of nursing, said when the pandemic hit last year she knew that it was going to present a challenge for her students, especially when it came to clinical training.

“I immediately partnered with Kitsap Public Health on trying to find clinic experiences that would expose nursing student to the real world of public health and how to help during the pandemic,” Nye said.

The nursing program, like every other aspect of life, has had to evolve with the pandemic. But the end result has been invaluable hands-on training for nursing students, from contact tracing and testing and now to vaccine administration, Nye added.

“We have been helping out all winter quarter long with the vaccination clinics in Bremerton. I think almost 100 of our nursing students, from both the practical and associate degree programs, went down there to help vaccinate the eligible public,” Nye said.

Once vaccine supply became more readily available the nursing program began to work with KPHD on expanding the clinics to North Kitsap and other areas.

Last week Olympic College students were on “spring break” but when the nursing students returned March 22, Nye had big plans for them to get back out in the community to help in the vaccination effort.

The nursing students have passed requirements to administer the vaccines and will be supervised by Olympic and KPHD staff during the clinic.

“One positive thing to come out of this pandemic is these students have received more hands-on experience than in previous years,” Nye said.

The pandemic really impacted Olympic and especially students in programs, like nursing, where clinicals are required to graduate. A mandate issued by Gov. Jay Inslee and the state worked with colleges to keep clinicals open to allow students to graduate and immediately enter into the workforce to help combat the pandemic.

This vaccine clinic will be open Tuesday-Friday as long as vaccines are available.

This vaccine clinic will be open Tuesday-Friday as long as vaccines are available.