EastBay Today

Feature
Posted July 17, 2020

Hands-on Learning During COVID-19

Cal State East Bay nursing students support Hayward COVID-19 testing site

On a campus where virtual instruction has been in place since March, and most students are enjoying summer break, a team of volunteers is working harder than ever in a busy parking lot on the Hayward campus.

Under the supervision of their faculty, nearly 50 nursing students and alumni are staffing the city’s COVID-19 testing site. 

“They are participating in all aspects of the screening process,” said Sahar Nouredini, PhD, RN, CNS, the department of nursing’s assistant professor overseeing community health courses. “They are screening clients, performing the actual tests, communicating results by phone, and providing guidance on next steps.”

The drive-through site administers roughly 500 free COVID-19 tests daily. It opened in mid-April and is operated by the Hayward Fire Department, with support from Cal State East Bay and in partnership with Eden Health District and La Familia. 

Nouredini said the students working at the center are using state-of-the-art testing technology, making the screening process virtually touch-free. She praised the students and alumni for their roles in providing a vital regional service, and she was proud of the students’ and alumni’s immediate response to her call for volunteers. 

“We knew there was a community need for screening, which is one of the primary tools we will use to control the pandemic,” she said. “The students go into nursing in part to assist others, so they are very community-minded.”

The onsite testing center provided solutions for students in the program, as they needed clinical hours as part of their coursework. Many nursing programs and hospitals in California have canceled onsite clinical training for nurses, which impacted course completion and graduation. 

“Current students are facing the challenge of continued restrictions on clinical placements which has the potential of delaying their progression and graduation,” said Lindsay McCrea, Cal State East Bay Department of Nursing chair. “Thus fewer admits, delayed graduation equals fewer new nurses entering an already beleaguered workforce. Students suffer, graduates suffer, and ultimately, the health of the state suffers.”

The no-cost testing site is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., or until all tests are exhausted for the day. More information is available at Eden Health District’s website. 

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