Nurse practitioner student Kelly Brush gives a patient a flu shot at MIT.
There they sat, six second-year nurse practitioner students from the MGH Institute Master of Science Nursing program, waiting for the clock to strike four when they would begin dispensing flu shots to the employees and families of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It wasn't long before the cries of frightened children filled the room, parents trying to calm their children, while the volunteer NP students methodically went about their task of vaccinating patients young and old.
"We don’t get a chance to do many injections in our clinicals, so being able to give so many shots in a short period of time is a good way to learn," said student Kelly Brush as she waited for another patient to arrive. "It builds confidence."
Clinical Associate Professor Nancy Terres, PhD, RN, BC, who was supervising the students, noted people today receive their medicines most frequently through intravenous (IV) lines. That makes finding real-life learning experiences more important than ever.
"Students could arrive at their first jobs or advanced practice placements never having given an injection to a patient," Dr. Terres explained. "This way, the community agency gets help with their large crowds seeking immunization, the students get practice, and everyone benefits."
The students also dispensed flu shots at the Cambridge pharmaceutical company Biogen Idec, at several Massachusetts General Hospital employee health clinics, and at the Upham’s Corner Health Center in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. "The students allowed us to see a larger volume of patients more quickly," noted Andrew Gottlieb, NP, FNP-BC, Director of Occupational Health Services at Mass General.
In total, more than three dozen nursing students have given more than 1,000 flu shots under the direction of Dr. Terres; Assistant Professor Margaret Mahoney, PhD, MS, RN; Assistant Professor Susan Hamilton, MScN, RN, CHNCS; Clinical Assistant Professor Judith Webb, DNP, ANP-BC; Clinical Faculty Gail Campbell, MS, RN, and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education Cammie Townsend, MS/MBA, RN.