Providence Hospitals Leverage COPE Health Scholars to Manage COVID-19 Vaccinations

Like hospitals everywhere, St. Joseph Hospital Orange and Mission Hospital faced the challenge of meeting the demand for COVID-19 immunizations while concurrently balancing the impacts of pandemic-related staffing shortages. The two Providence hospitals in Southern California turned to COPE Health Scholars, aspiring health professionals already on site as part of hands-on experiential education courses, to support vaccine registration, scheduling, recording and logistics.

Designed to give students and those considering mid-career transitions experience in clinical and administrative settings, the COPE Health Scholars program quickly pivoted the curriculum and schedule at these two hospitals to areas of greatest need. By mid-April, the Health Scholars had provided more than 2,300 hours of help to facilitate vaccinations for approximately 10,000 hospital employees and 14,000 community members at the two facilities.

“The St. Joseph Health Scholars were essential to the COVID-19 vaccine clinic running efficiently. They worked checking in patients, recording data, greeting patients and assisting in all tasks, and in many cases stayed until the last vaccine was administered. We could not have done it without them,” said Kathlyn Kelley, St. Joseph Hospital Orange’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic director and manager, Heart and Vascular Services.


Leveraging Health Scholars

COPE Health Scholars have been an integral part of the Providence teams at St. Joseph Hospital Orange since 2015 and at Mission Hospital since 2018. With programs tailored and managed for each hospital by COPE Health Solutions, Health Scholars have provided up to 9,500 hours of support monthly at these hospitals while adding to their workforce pipeline.


For COVID-19 immunizations, Health Scholars focused on three key areas:

1. In-Person Registration Support

Health Scholars have been registering both scheduled and walk-in patients for first and second doses. They document the immunizations by entering patient vaccine information into the hospitals’ electronic health record systems.


2. Vaccine Clinic Logistics and Supplies

Health Scholars help manage the flow of patients arriving at the clinics, answering questions and showing patients to registration, waiting and observation areas. They also monitor patients during the 15-minute observation period and restock materials and supplies.


3. Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Vaccination Communication

Health Scholars answer calls and respond to COVID-19 vaccine questions from both hospital employees and community members. They contact patients to confirm appointments. They also escalate any clinical concerns to appropriate staff.

“We are so grateful to our COPE Health Scholars who answered the call to support the Mission Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic. They became an integral part of the team, registering patients, helping maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, and creating a warm and positive experience for our patients. Their contribution was integral to the success of the clinic, and I was so impressed by the professionalism and skill they demonstrated,” said Kopitzee Parra-Thornton, Vaccination Clinic director and Patient Experience & Organization Effectiveness director for Mission Hospital.


Contact Elizabeth DuBois at to learn more about COPE Health Scholars or other workforce programs to help fill current and future workforce gaps.