Nursing students screen Amazon workers through new partnership
When accelerated BSN student Samantha Cardwell signed up to screen Amazon delivery workers through the College of Nursing’s new partnership, she knew she’d be helping people while earning some clinical hours.
But what she didn’t anticipate was how far her efforts would reach.
That changed when the University of Missouri–St. Louis student got to the Hazelwood Logistics Center on her first day and met Jennifer Cordia, president and CEO of Next Jeneration Logistics. Cordia, a nurse and the former chief nurse officer at Christian Hospital, explained how keeping Amazon drivers healthy ensured that customers continued to receive critical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now that I can think like a nursing student, I can think of a million things – like stuff for wound care or if they have a stoma or anything like that – that people really need supplies for,” Cardwell said. “It was a no-brainer for me to go and help out as much as I could.”
Cardwell is one of 15 BSN students who have been doing patient education and screening Amazon delivery workers through a contactless system where the students and the workers stay 6 to 10 feet away from each other at all times. The students start their shift by setting up a pop-up table with forehead thermometers, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. The drivers check in with the students, take their own temperatures and then place the thermometers in a used bin. While that is in process, the students assess the drivers for signs of illness such as shortness of breath, coughing and more.
“We let them know if their temperatures are normal, we wipe everything down and then they’re good to go,” Cardwell said. “It’s an efficient process.”
The shifts are six hours long and run seven days a week with space for three nursing students daily. During each shift, the students screen approximately 60 individuals. The hours worked count toward the undergraduates’ clinical requirements and to the indirect clinical hours for any graduate students that choose to participate and who also have the opportunity to mentor their pre-license colleagues.
That’s important because the college suspended all in-personal clinicals after donating its personal protective equipment to area hospitals. It’s a move designed, in part, to help students graduate on time and join a workforce where they are needed.
The collaboration is the brainchild of Cordia, who reached out to the college in early April. Interim Dean of the College of Nursing Roxanne Vandermause sees the partnership as an opportunity for the students to learn unique skills.
“The students are learning to manage and understand the effects of a pandemic and experiencing an epidemiological challenge,” she said. “Our national and global organizations have been warning us that we might see such pandemics in the future, that we may see all kinds of infectious disease processes that we hadn’t before. Our students are preparing for an unknown future as part of their educational preparation.
“They’re also preparing to respond to the needs of the community. We have so many technologies available for treatment in hospital settings and a lot of their clinical work has been focused in a hospital setting. Now, they’re learning to work in settings that are unusual.”
Shawne Manies, Accelerated BSN director and undergraduate clinical coordinator, has been organizing the students. It was her email that Cardwell responded to originally.
There have been some surprises through the process for Cardwell. One was realizing how much education she’d be doing, not just on how to use the thermometers but also on how to wear protective equipment like gloves properly and explaining how the virus is transmitted. Along with her classmates, she’s in the process of developing educational materials for Amazon – something that they’d be happy to provide to other companies as well.
The other takeaway for Cardwell has been the drivers’ reactions.
“All the drivers are amazing, and they’re so grateful to have somebody there,” she said. “Some of them don’t have thermometers at home, and they don’t have the supplies that they need. For us to be able to provide hand sanitizer and gloves if they need it and take their temperatures, make sure that they’re staying healthy not only for themselves but for their family and their friends, they’re just super grateful and thankful that we’re even there. That’s very rewarding.”
For Cardwell, who is on track to graduate in August with a job lined up in the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, that reminds her of what drives her to be a nurse: patient-centered care. That’s something that’s on her mind recently as she thinks about what she’s taking from this experience and as a student nurse poised to be working during a community health crisis.
Some of those thoughts have to do with how nursing might change as a result of coronavirus. The others have to do with how helping people goes beyond physical ailments.
“The drivers are scared, and they don’t really know what’s going on, or they don’t know what to believe,” Cardwell said. “I appreciate being able to educate them as a health-care person. That’s a big role to take on – people looking up to you and relying on you – and they’re probably telling their friends and family what you’re telling them. I think people are starting to look at nurses more because of this as a really good source of information and as a very strong group of people because they’re seeing a lot of nurses on the frontlines.”
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=84801