The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies provide essential support during pandemic

Photo by Clare Fusselman

Texas A&M student healthcare employees are working on and off campus to assist in treating patients with COVID-19.

At Texas A&M, student employees are the undercurrent of the university’s workforce and a sizable portion of its personnel.
Since mid-March, many of these student workers have had the opportunity to assist frontline efforts to meet health needs and treat patients suffering from COVID-19. A&M students are working on and off campus to support health care systems, patients and the community during the pandemic by staffing and volunteering with COVID-19 testing centers, laboratories and clinics.
Among them is first year nursing student Tori Nance, who said working as a nursing clinical assistant during the pandemic has opened her eyes to the reality of the job.
“[The pandemic] has taught me a lot about the health care field,” Nance said. “I have seen how the health care field can change in a very short amount of time… to meet the demands of what is going on in the world.”
Allied health junior Kristen Hernandez, a student nursing assistant who has been serving the A&M community since June, said although they’ve had to quickly adapt to a multitude of changes, she feels safe as a student worker because of the protocols Student Health Services has implemented.
“A big part of our job right now is cleaning and sanitizing everything,” Hernandez said. “We also have to wear different [Personal Protective Equipment] for different patients.”
In addition to SHS, Texas A&M University Emergency Medical Services, or TAMU EMS, is among those leading the university’s fight against COVID-19. TAMU EMS assistant manager Michael Williams, Class of 2016, attributes the group’s success to a culture of transparency and communication.
“Something I have always cherished is the ability to communicate, and that has become kind of paramount to the success our organization has had in response to the pandemic,” Williams said.
Prior to the pandemic, TAMU EMS’s main responsibility was providing support to A&M students and faculty in the event of any medical emergencies. Now its primary focus has transitioned to include operating, managing and running the COVID-19 testing tents on campus. Kayla Riley, a TAMU EMS standby operations coordinator and Class of 2020, said the biggest change for the group has been how it approaches patients.
“Before we continue any more assessment, we go ahead and ask those COVID[-19] questions, which is not something we used to stop and do before,” Riley said.
While TAMU EMS and SHS student assistants continue to work to flatten the curve on campus, students such as nutritional sciences senior and CHI St. Joseph’s medical assistant Brittany Hastings are supporting patients off campus.
“We see COVID[-19] positive or potential COVID[-19] positive patients,” Hastings said. “We take the necessary precautions, but again there is no guarantee that what we are doing can prevent us from getting sick with COVID-19.”
As a frontline worker, Hastings said the hardest part about the pandemic has been the forced separation from family and friends, a reality many health care workers are currently experiencing.
“You do have to make sacrifices,” Hastings said. “You feel isolated in more ways than just at work when you are wearing the uniform.”
While health professionals work to flatten the curve within the community, A&M students will continue to provide essential support and work toward beating COVID-19.
“Our student workers are an essential part of our team,” Tonya Cochran, coordinator of nursing services, said. “Much of our success is due to their commitment and dedication to serving others.”

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