Kim Sprangers stood in line and waited until it was her turn to get a coronavirus vaccine at the Cone Health Green Valley campus on Friday morning.
Sprangers earned her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree from the UNC Greensboro School of Nursing in May 2019 and then immediately started working as a nurse in the emergency department at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital.
Sprangers was one of several UNCG alumni who were among the first frontline nurses to get the coronavirus vaccine when Cone Health started administering it to its employees on Friday.
Since May, 105 students have graduated from the UNCG School of Nursing’s pre-licensure BSN program. Another 150 students have graduated from the RN-to-BSN program since May.
“It’s like I have nothing to compare it to,” Sprangers said of starting her nursing career during a public health crisis. “I’m just a new grad, and it just happens that there’s a pandemic going on.”
Cone Health received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, and it was expected to give it to around 75 employees on Friday. Cone Health is expected to increase that number over the next few days.
Jamie Blue-Matthews has worked as a nurse for Cone Health since she earned her BSN from the UNCG School of Nursing in 1993. She also earned a degree in chemistry from UNCG in 1987. Like Sprangers, she works in the emergency department at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital.
Blue-Matthews said she was willing to get the vaccine, especially since she has an elderly mother.
“I was a little anxious, but our COVID population in the emergency department has gone up so greatly I feel like I have to get it for myself and my family,” Blue-Matthews said.
Shortly after Blue-Matthews left, it was Terri Franklin’s turn to take a seat inside a room at the Cone Health Green Valley campus and get her vaccine.
Franklin previously worked in management, but she didn’t enjoy it and decided in her 40s to go back to school to earn her BSN from UNCG in 2012.
Franklin said she now feels like she has “done something” good every time she returns home following one of her shifts as a nurse at the Cone Health Green Valley campus.
She has continued to work during the pandemic, which has taken a toll on health care workers across the country.
“A patient leaves, and they fill that room almost right away,” Franklin said moments after getting her vaccine.
Story by Alex Abrams, School of Nursing
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications