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Immunisation, nurse practitioner, hospital, vaccine
Patients at increased risk of vaccine preventable diseases require additional vaccines that are not licensed for Nurse Immunisers to administer without a prescription. An Immunisation Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne was introduced to address deficiencies in the current management of these patients. NP endorsement requires successful completion of a Masters level study program, plus the equivalent of three years (5,000) hours full-time experience in advanced clinical nursing. The Immunisation NP was endorsed in May 2017 and since then, the Immunisation service at RCH has recorded a 140% increase in uptake of Meningococcal B vaccine as well as improved delivery of immunisations to special-risk patients. In addition, there was improved access to specialist immunisation advice as well as improved opportunistic immunisation of inpatients. New initiatives were implemented including immunisation of needle phobic patients using nitrous oxide sedation. This paper describes the outcomes of employing an Immunisation NP at the RCH, Melbourne.
What is currently known about the topic?
- Nurse Practitioners provide excellent, patient-centred care whilst also contributing to research, education, leadership and management.
- There is much literature on describing Nurse Practitioner specialty roles however, none in the area of Immunisation.
What this paper adds:
- A Nurse Practitioner (NP) role in the specialty field of immunisation can contribute to improving hospital inpatient rates of immunisation, facilitate uptake of non-scheduled vaccines and decrease pressure on wait times for a specialist clinic appointment.
- The Immunisation NP reflects the full diversity of nursing practice and addresses the many service gaps in the previous delivery model, that can be emulated by paediatric nurses in other specialist areas.