WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The struggle to help America reach herd immunity against COVID-19 is being shouldered, in part, by the next generation of pharmacists. Some of them are about to graduate from a local university.
It’s not the kind of clinic Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy students envisioned when they enrolled six years ago, vaccinating people against a virus that triggered a pandemic.
“The past year has been difficult for everyone, including me. We’ve been on, going to rotations to different clinics around the area,” said Lily Nguyen, Nesbit School of Pharmacy 2021 graduate, Wilkes University.
The students are credited with administering more than 13,000 COVID vaccinations and counting.
“I think right now it’s like very necessary for pharmacists especially since we are going to be doing a lot of vaccinations,” said Kimmie Dinh, Nesbit School of Pharmacy 2021 graduate, Wilkes University.
They learned some difficult lessons along the way.
“There have been both in the classroom and certainly outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Scott Stolte, dean, Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, Wilkes University.
Wilkes students also joined the pharmacy front line to provide in-store care and gain valuable knowledge during the COVID crisis.
“Sometimes we see the initial symptoms that are more indicative of a more serious problem and then we can help the entire healthcare team manage that patient through referral,” said Dr. Stolte.
He says pharmacy students also helped offer counsel to rural Pennsylvanians by connecting with people through modern day technology.
“It was kind of amazing to watch telehealth and telepharmacy come together and some things that I guess we never would have thought we could do at a distance we were able to do.”
They learned a lot and now it’s time to celebrate what they achieved during challenging times.
“It’s awesome to be able to get, like, an actual physical celebration, you know, of our accomplishments and everything,” said Neha Kunche, Nesbit School of Pharmacy 2021 graduate, Wilkes University.
“Six years later we’re actually in our robes now so it’s a really great feeling,” said Haley Evans, Nesbit School of Pharmacy 2021 graduate, Wilkes University.
Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy class of 2021 graduates Friday night.
Dr. Stolte says the need for pharmacists is so great that the class of 2021 should have no problem finding a job.