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Improving Vaccination Education for Student Nurses

Back-to-school season means physical check-ups and vaccinations for school-aged students and many adults. Nursing students – and pharmacy students, as many pharmacies are now offering immunization services – must be prepared to administer vaccines correctly, comfortable addressing patient concerns in regard to the safety of vaccines, and familiar with contraindications and precautions.

Educating students to administer vaccinations is a regular part of nursing and pharmacy curriculums, but are there strategic ways that teaching methods can be improved?

Using Simulation to Enhance Classroom Experience

The following simulation supplies from Pocket Nurse can add a realistic, hands-on component to a classroom segment on administering vaccinations:

Using a combination of these supplies brings life-like practice into the classroom without risking mistakes being made on actual patients. After students have practiced their injection skills and mastered all steps to a safe immunization, they can look forward to their clinical rotation with increased confidence and experience.


Preparing Students to Advocate for Immunization

The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that in a 2011 study, 77 percent of parents polled stated concerns about one or more childhood vaccinations. In a modern clinical setting, proper vaccination technique must involve more than just the injection procedure. Students must be prepared to address the concerns that many parents will display when it’s time for their child to receive an immunization. Employ these tactics in the classroom to make sure that students can effectively and accurately express the safety and importance of vaccines:

  • Arm students with facts: As stated in this SimTalk Blog post, most parents respond positively to facts, presented to them in a calm and reassuring manner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer several fact sheets and articles explaining the ultimate safety of vaccines. Point your students toward these resources so that they are prepared to share them with future patients and family members.
  • Prep students for unexpected reactions: Although students are likely to be well-versed in the science behind various vaccines, their patients likely will not be and may have valid concerns. It’s crucial that students respond to these concerns with compassion, empathy, and patience, expressing that the ultimate goal of the healthcare provider and the parent is the same – patient safety and well-being.

Sharing Additional Learning Resources with Students

Students may benefit from additional resources that prepare them for the vaccination procedure.

  • World Health Organization and Public Health can provide students with literature for their patients.
  • Blogs like NCLEX Mastery provides students with in-depth information on guidelines for administering vaccines.
  • The American Pharmacists Association provides links to CDC resources and articles on proper vaccine administration.
  • The CDC has interactive guides designed to help patients and parents understand vaccinations.

Read the SimTalk Blog posts Vaccination Compliance and Talking to Parents, True or False? Facts about Colds and Flu, and Preventing Cervical Cancer and Promoting Cervical Health.


NCBI: Exploring the Reasons Behind Parental Refusal of Vaccines

CDC: Immunization Education & Training, Vaccines & Immunizations, Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP, Pregnancy and vaccinations.

World Health Organization: Global Vaccine Safety: Six common misconceptions about immunization. Understanding Vaccines

American Pharmacists Association: Vaccine Administration Techniques

NCLEX Mastery

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