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Student Nurses' Immunization Knowledge and Confidence

Vaccines are likely the most significant public health initiative the world has ever seen outside of clean water. Vaccinations are relatively inexpensive, minimally invasive, and highly effective against deadly diseases. According to the World Health Organization, regular immunizations prevent between four and five million deaths each year.[1] Associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh has been working on vaccine research for over 10 years at BYU, often with Dr. Beth Luthy (BS '03, MS '05), Dr. Renea Beckstrand (AS '81, BS '83, MS '87), and several student research assistants. Dr. Macintosh teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on ethics, writing, research, and interdisciplinary connections for the honors program. This fall, she is also teaching a pediatrics course.

In a continuation of her vaccine research, Macintosh recently surveyed second- and fourth-semester BYU nursing students. They were asked questions about pediatric immunization schedules, their confidence in their knowledge of immunizations, and their ability to administer immunizations. Students were surveyed at the beginning of the semester then again at the end of the semester, and the responses were recorded.

At the end of the semester, the mean number of CDC-recommended pediatric vaccines that students correctly identified increased significantly. Recognition of some vaccines decreased, and there were several that less than 50 percent of students identified correctly during both surveys. Yet overall, there was more knowledge about which vaccines should be administered after students attended pediatrics or public health classes.

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