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Student Health Center: COVID-19 and Student Workers

Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, like many other healthcare facilities, the Student Health Center has experienced an increased demand for services. Maintaining adequate staffing to meet this demand has been difficult, but thanks to some UT students, the Student Health Center (SHC) has been successful.

Early in the fall 2020 semester, it was clear that the SHC was in competition with many other local healthcare facilities for qualified individuals to fill needed patient care roles. In conjunction with UT’s Human Resources Department, qualified students were invited to submit applications to work at the SHC on a temporary basis as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) or administrative assistants.

Not only do these students gain practical experience in a chosen career field, but they also assist the SHC in fulfilling its mission of meeting the healthcare needs of all students during this unprecedented time. Students working at the SHC are provided with in-service training including but not limited to the basics of patient privacy, personal protection, and other workplace safety measures. They are also trained in participating in inpatient care from obtaining patient histories, vital signs, and lab specimens to assisting students in their care and successfully maneuvering through the healthcare system.

Participating students have indicated they are pleased with the opportunity to help others during this time and have gained valuable work experience and training:

“My job at the Student Health Center has improved my skill set as a CNA. My nurse manager, along with other nurses I have the privilege to work with, are always eager to teach me new skills. I’m continually encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, ask questions, and take on new responsibilities. Overall, I value my time at the Health Center and find it rewarding to know that I am assisting my university during the epidemic.” A.G.

“My job at the UTK Student Health Center has not only taught me how to obtain a variety of specimens but overall it has taught me confidence. My boss has instilled in me to be confident and trust my gut. I feel that is an irreplaceable trait that will continue to help me in anything I do in the future.” E.W.

We are grateful to these students and the work they perform in serving their fellow students and our campus community.