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Rosalind Franklin University College of Pharmacy
Immunization training in the First professional year (P1): A student perspective
by Krista Paplaczyk, P3, ICHP Vice President Rosalind Franklin University College of Pharmacy
One of the first skills we learn as P1 pharmacy students at Rosalind Franklin University (RFU) is how to administer vaccines. The placement of Immunization Training early in the curriculum has played a significant role in the decision for many students to attend RFU. Even though a little anxious, RFU students are excited to have an opportunity to have a positive impact on their patients’ lives early in their training. Students can ensure patients are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases shortly after starting school. Students consistently express that early introduction to immunization training has provided significant advantages in their professional development.
The P1 introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs) at RFU are comprised of 104 hours of experience in community pharmacy practice settings. P1 students do not begin IPPEs until after completion of the immunization training course. This timeline is deliberate, allowing students to have multiple opportunities to practice their newly acquired skill prior to graduation. Students appreciate the opportunity to become more comfortable handling sharps, practicing vaccine preparation and administration, and utilizing the CDC immunization schedules under direct supervision of an experienced preceptor. This helps us develop confidence prior to going out to practice on our own.
Students who do not have an opportunity to immunize at their IPPE site are offered the option to participate in RFU-based influenza immunization clinics. In addition, P1 students can take advantage of demonstrating their proficiency in immunizations by participating at the RFU Interprofessional Community Clinic (ICC). The ICC is a student run clinic representing health profession students from multiple programs at RFU and provides quality healthcare to residents in our local communities. The ICC can be intimidating for first-year students just beginning their education. However, P1 students can make an impact by volunteering and helping evaluate a patient's immunization requirements, even if they have not yet acquired all of the clinical knowledge that the P2 and P3 students have learned.
It is easy to see why RFU students, faculty, preceptors, and surrounding community members are in favor of immunization training early in our academic journey. It has greatly enriched our students’ educational experiences, as well as the health and well-being of the patients we encounter during our four years in the pharmacy program. ■