The Light at the End of the Tunnel

With each and every COVID-19 vaccine given, we take a step closer to beating the pandemic. And Alverno nurses are proud to be leading the charge.

Whether it’s as students logging clinical hours, or faculty and alums serving as nurse leaders, their skilled work is contributing to a global effort to protect each of us from a virus that upended our lives.

Among those pitching in are future nurses like Susie Voltz, who is enrolled in Alverno’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN) program. Voltz and her peers are currently gaining hands-on clinical experience by assisting with the Milwaukee Health Department’s vaccine distribution, providing the long-awaited shots to frontline city employees and residents age 65 and older.

“A lot of the people I’ve given vaccines to are all very excited to have the opportunity to get the vaccine,” she says. “We’re all excited to be there and to help bring that light at the end of the tunnel.”

Stefani Magnowski, DNP, an Alverno assistant nursing professor, serves as director of nursing for a large health system and was tasked with starting and running a vaccine clinic.

“Initially, we targeted our employees to get vaccinated. We did a day of recruiting to get people to get their vaccines. There were a lot of myths and misinformation being spread, so we had to be able to provide them the evidence they needed to make an informed decision,” she says. “We also had to be able to provide that education after they got the vaccine: What are the next steps? What are the things to look for if you have a reaction? Why is it important to follow through and get that second dose?”

Magnowski (at left) and her team worked on a tight timeline, setting up the clinic and its procedures in the span of just three days after finding out they would receive a shipment of the COVID vaccine. Under her leadership, the clinic has successfully distributed about 1,000 first and second doses of the vaccine between late December and mid-February.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of change and to really be pioneering the way to get us out of this pandemic,” she says.

Another vaccine clinic leader is Alverno nursing graduate Megan Noggle ’11, who, as public health nurse supervisor at the Greenfield Health Department, has orchestrated that city’s vaccine distribution.

In less than two months, Noggle (pictured above, at left) and her team applied to be a distribution site, coordinated clinic logistics, learned about the vaccine and trained staff members and volunteers how to prepare and distribute doses as well as monitor recipients for any adverse reactions.

It’s a gargantuan task that has clearly paid off ― Noggle estimates her team has distributed approximately 1,450 first doses of the vaccine to Greenfield residents and employees, with another 500 second doses given to date.

“I’m very lucky to be able to help out in the capacity that I am, and I’m very lucky to be working with such great staff and volunteers who help to make this vaccination clinic successful,” says Noggle, a public health nurse supervisor.

Noggle’s team includes such familiar faces as Alverno undergraduate nursing students who are assisting with vaccine clinic administration as part of their clinical. Also pitching in is Mary Kitten ’19, DNP, an associate nursing professor at Alverno, a member of the Greenfield Health Department’s board of health and a post-vaccine observer.

“I’m in the post-vaccine room watching people to make sure they don’t have allergic reactions,” says Kitten (pictured above, at right). “I haven’t seen any serious reactions. Most people feel like they won the lottery because they got their vaccine.”

At the clinic, Kitten reports to Noggle, her former student and advisee. Both are proud to be among the many Alverno nurses who are caring for their communities, especially during the pandemic.

“It’s all come full circle,” Noggle says of working with Kitten. “Alverno has made us all well-rounded individuals to be able to help our patients and our community.”

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