CENTRAL FLORIDA — Dozens of University of Central Florida nursing students are answering the call to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines across Central Florida.

What You Need To Know

  •  About 200 UCF nursing students have joined efforts to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Florida

  •  Students from the school's Orlando, Cocoa, and Daytona Beach campuses are participating

  • Many of the nursing students say the experience has been life-changing

About 200 students across the university’s Orlando, Cocoa, and Daytona Beach campuses are participating.

Nursing senior Delainey Dietz has been honing her skills with vial and needle.

“We’re able to go into these simulation rooms and treat the mannequins as if they were patients," said Dietz. "So they’ve set up really great scenarios for us so we can practice being in a patient setting.”

All of this was for the day she put her skills into practice, with patients.

Video provided to us by UCF shows her and several other students administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“My mom was a nurse, so I grew up around her, and I was always really inspired by her connections that she made with patients," said Dietz.

Like mother, like daughter, on that day, she felt she was making a powerful connection.

"I think watching one man ask someone to take a video of him while he received his vaccine, that was really touching, because it just showed how excited he was, and how much it was changing his life," said Dietz.

Faculty adviser Kate Dorminy says the life-changing feeling was mutual between patient and student. 

“Probably the most common feedback that I would get from students when we were at these sites and giving vaccines is ‘I can’t believe how grateful everyone is,'" said Dorminy.

“Their excitement was really palpable, and it was just a really awesome experience," Dietz added.

As Dietz looks ahead to graduation, and the start of her career, she feels confident about the road ahead.

“Learning about how COVID has affected others in our community and being active in helping people return to normal," said Dietz. "I think that’s going to be a big part of what I practice when I’m a nurse."

Dorminy told us these community partnerships with the college of nursing will likely continue at least well into the summer, as the experience is a win-win.

It helps fill the demand for people to give the vaccine, and it gives the students the clinical experience they need for their careers.