Students assist Student Wellness Center with COVID-19 testing


Mia Hennen

Dacaria Harris helps sign in a student wanting to use the free COVID-19 testing option in the Student Health Center on Feb. 13, 2021.

Students interested in the medical field or helping with the ongoing pandemic were able to apply to assist with COVID-19 testing this semester in the Student Health Services.

Director of Student Health Services Director, Heather Stafford, said that they recruited students mainly through the College of Health Professions.

“When we were asked to do this, we also were very busy in the clinic with sick people, so we couldn’t really afford to bring all of our staff over here at the time,” Stafford said. “We tried to get students who would find this as an opportunity to help and get some experience, and we had a lot of students respond.”

Students hired to assist with testing gained hands-on experience that could help them in their field of study which included fields like medical laboratory science, nursing and dental hygiene.

“It is an applied learning opportunity for them because they do get to have the experience working with patients,” Stafford said. “It also provides community service in a way; they’re helping out with the pandemic.”

Dacaria Harris, medical laboratory science major, began working at the Student Health Center this semester. Harris said she wanted to obtain laboratory experience before diving more into her major.

“I think if someone likes helping people, then this would be good for them, whether they wanna be in the medical field forever or not,” Harris said.

Harris said that the days she worked were structured, and when she was not working or seeing patients, she could dedicate time to homework.

“I come in, see what position I’m in — we set up a little list that tells us what station we’re at like check in, restorations, and out-take — and put on the gear for that station because each station has different gear to protect you a little better, then I get started for the day,” Harris said.

Nursing major Taryn Eberl also began to work in the Student Wellness Center to assist with testing at the beginning of the spring semester when there was a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Every now and then, in January, there would be a line,” Eberl said. “Now, it’s down to like 14 to 15 people [a day].”

Due to the decrease in testing, the Student Wellness Center, starting Feb. 15, opened the office again for free walk-in COVID-19 testing.

“I would encourage everybody to watch the newsletters that Shocker Blast issues,” Stafford said. “We’re kind of shifting our focus and making sure we’re providing both vaccinations and testing.”

New COVID-19 testing and vaccination days and hours can be found on WSU’s Student Health Services web-page.

Being able to assist the community gave students a sense of purpose in addition to providing them hands-on experience. 

“Anywhere that I can help, that’s what I want to do,” Eberl said. “I applied to so many clinics and testing sites [before this] because I know they need help and I know they’re getting burnt out. Helping is all I can do.”