A Blog Devoted to UD Innovation, Excellence & Scholarship


UD Nursing Students Help with Campus Testing

Volunteering to help with COVID-19 testing, nursing students get clinical experience

by | September 29, 2020

Video by Ashley Barnas

UD senior nursing student Shaena Friedman demonstrates how to collect the saliva sample for the coronavirus (COVID-19) surveillance testing. Friedman said the testing is a way for students like her to get experience in a community health setting.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) surveillance testing underway this fall at the University of Delaware is part of an ongoing effort to keep students, faculty and staff safe, but it also gives students like senior nursing major Shaena Friedman the chance to get valuable community health experience.

Earlier in September, Friedman stood at the entrance to the Independence Hall Turf Field on Laird Campus, walking test takers through the testing process. Holding a test tube and paper funnel, she instructed participants how to produce a saliva sample — it helps to relax your cheeks and think of favorite foods you like to eat, she said — and then showed them how to clean the test tube before depositing it in the collection bin.

Friedman is one of nearly four dozen nursing students volunteering with the surveillance testing, along with students from the athletic training education program and graduate students in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and the Department of Physical Therapy. Volunteers help with crowd control, provide testing education and assessment and also help ensure participants are maintaining social distancing protocols.

“It’s definitely been great to be able to educate people in the community because, as a nursing major, I know a lot about this, but other people might not,” Friedman said. “We don’t have as many opportunities now to help out in the community with everything being online, so this is a great opportunity to help to identify asymptomatic people and to reduce the amount of cases.”

Weather permitting, testing generally takes place twice a week at Harrington Hall Turf Field on East Campus and Independence Turf Field. The goal is to test 1,000 students, staff and faculty weekly. UD’s saliva-based COVID-19 tests are approved by the state of Delaware and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Results are emailed within 16 hours of testing.

“We’re excited that the students will be a part of this surveillance and really stepping into a leadership role,” said Kathleen S. Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “One of the things that we talk about to our health sciences students all the time is that they are future leaders of healthcare. And so, we really want to be sure that we give them a strong foundation, build them to be critical thinkers, have them really accept their role as a leader and have other people model the behavior that they’re showing.”