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These students are getting real-world health care experience fighting COVID-19

While millions across the country continue to get their coronavirus vaccines, we are hearing from students in Luzerne County who are helping with the process.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Both pharmacy and nursing students at Wilkes University are spending their time on campus administering COVID-19 assurance testing, a means by which the university randomly tests for asymptomatic people with COVID-19.

This is an experience that these students never thought they would go through while getting their education, but they tell us it's what's happening off-campus that has really made an impact.

"Oh, absolutely. If anyone could experience that feeling like just giving your first vaccine, having a patient say thank you, like, and like having like a tear like fall down from their face, because they're so happy that they're getting the first vaccine," said pharmacy student Landon Bordner.

Landon Bordner and Cassie Oldt are third-year pharmacy students at Wilkes. Until the pandemic, students were not allowed to give vaccines, but now they are two of the 250 students and faculty at Wilkes who have given more than 7,000 COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

"It was really special to see how thankful the patients are, and how getting this vaccine really would be a change in their life, and the appreciation is just great and, it's something amazing to experience," Oldt said.

Eric Schramm is a nursing student at Wilkes from Mountain Top. He sees what's happening on both sides of the virus.

"The Wilkes nursing program, I was able to as well give out COVID tests here on campus, and as well give out vaccines at General Hospital, and even through those experiences that kind of increase my passion for nursing, and I felt that, as I continue down that path, I want to kind of aspire to be like the nurses that I've seen in the hospitals," Schramm said.

These students say that while what we've experienced in the past year might make someone second-guess their decision to enter health care, they tell Newswatch 16 it has only made them want to pursue it even more.

"Coming into this, it did drive me to want to kind of help out the community and get back to normal life."