Nursing students provide majority of vaccine given on campus

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Savvy planning and resource use helped Pennsylvania State University (PSU) make the best of the challenge of holding mass vaccination clinics. A key part of PSU's success was including upper-level nursing students as vaccinators.

The nursing students were responsible for administering H1N1 vaccine on campus under the guidance of nursing faculty and with the oversight of the University Health Service (UHS) assistant director for risk management, clinical director, and infection control manager.

From 15-20 of the nursing students were providing vaccinations during all of the clinics, delivering approximately 4,500 doses of vaccine.

This approach had many benefits, said Shelley Haffner, the infection control nurse manager at UHS, including:

  • UHS staff nurses were able to remain in the clinical area where they were most urgently needed, to care for ill students.
  • PSU was able to save on overtime wages and temporary part-time nurse salaries that would have otherwise been necessary.
  • Student nurse schedules were more conducive to late afternoon/evening hours so that clinics were available during those times.Student nurses were easy to mobilize and schedule to work in clinics so that when vaccine arrived (often with little or no advance notice) clinics could be scheduled fairly quickly, often during the same week that vaccine arrived.

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