CHICAGO - Chicago nursing students are jumping off the sidelines, straight into the fight against COVID-19.
This comes at a pivotal point as vaccinations ramp up, and veteran health care workers feel the strain one year into the pandemic.
Kailee Wright won’t graduate from DePaul Nursing School until June, but she is already a part of history.
"It’s really exciting. It feels good. I feel a sense of accomplishment being able to be a part of it, and I was part of the change to help lower the curve for COVID-19," said Wright.
Associate Professor Kim Amer leads a group of nursing students volunteering at the vaccination site inside Truman College on Chicago’s North Side.
"I volunteered. I didn’t have to do this, but I just think that it’s fabulous we have this vaccine. It’s almost a miracle we have vaccines available," said Amer.
In all, 20 DePaul faculty and 150 students are volunteering to help the Chicago Department of Public Health at vaccination sites.
Students like Kenneth Camacho provide an injection of new energy for the staff and give reassurance to patients about the vaccine's safety.
"I feel like I’m actually contributing to a real life effect and an impact on each individual’s life," said Camacho.
Beyond helping, this is real world experience - which during the pandemic has been hard to come by for nursing students.
"So I was really excited to be face to face with people especially because that’s why a lot of us nurses want to do what we do," said Wright.
Many of these students say this work convinced them they are on the right career path.