While Burke County Public Schools may be meeting remotely, the school system’s nurses are hard at work helping to administer vaccines to residents throughout the county.
On Jan. 13, a team of nurses was on hand to vaccinate residents and staff at Flynn Home, an alcohol and substance abuse treatment facility in Morganton.
Flynn Home is a 90-day residential treatment center that typically serves eight clients at a time. The center has been open since July 2012.
The center offers group and individual counseling, spiritual counseling, recovery coaching, situational supports and different kinds of therapies to put clients in a better position to be able to work their recovery, according to Kevin Norris, Flynn Home’s program director.
“We’re just hugely grateful that we got lined up to do this pretty quickly,” Norris said. “We’re very much about service work in the community.”
Norris said each of the program’s eight residents received the vaccine, as well as a number of staff members who were able to get the vaccine.
Two health department nurses joined the school system's staff to help train them in administering the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday.
Joyce Imboden is the school nurse at Forest Hill and Salem Elementary schools. Imboden said four school system nurses were on hand Wednesday, Jan. 13, to help administer the vaccine to both residents and staff at Flynn Home.
“We’re partnering up to help with the (Burke County) Health Department in the community,” Imboden said. “Before we can (administer the vaccines) on our own, we have to get signed off (by the health department.)”
Amanda Waters, the school nurse at North Liberty School and Liberty Middle School, Table Rock Middle School nurse Anna Crawley, and Heather Richard, school nurse at Ray Childers and Icard elementary schools, joined Imboden in helping to vaccinate Flynn Home residents and staff.
Waters said she and the other nurses first heard from the schools' nursing director, Miranda Michaels, about assisting in vaccinating community members last week.
“Our nursing director, Miranda Michaels, told us that the health department was going to need some help with administering the vaccine, and that we needed to do some training and be ready to go out and administer the vaccine,” Waters said. “All of us are more than happy to help and give the training.”
Waters said the nurses have been helping since last week to go to different places around the county to administer vaccines to at-risk populations such as nursing homes and treatment facilities throughout the county.
“We have a close relationship with our health department,” Waters said. “We have a great group of school nurses that are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the community.”
Heather Richard, school nurse at Ray Childers and Icard elementary schools, said it felt good to be able to give back to community members during such a difficult time.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that we can come out of the school setting and come out into the community and help with this setting,” Richard said. “(It’s a good feeling to) give people vaccines and help them feel like they’re coming out of the bubble that they’ve been in, and can actually start leading their lives again and get back to normal.”
Of course, before the nurses could administer the vaccines, they had to receive the vaccines themselves.
Waters said she received the vaccine last week with no troubles.
“My arm was a little sore, but there were no other side effects,” Waters said. “I’m glad I did it.”
Waters said she was glad to help give back to the community as well.
“We’re just more than happy to come and help alongside the health department and provide them with some more manpower to get the vaccine out to the community,” she said.
Johnny Casey is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or 828-432-8907.