Avoid Last Second Immunizations

Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photo By Nick Stern

Almost every student who goes through health, wellness and public safety programs needs immunizations for their own well-being and the safety of patients that students come into contact with during clinical rotations, said registered nurse, Patti Haaland of the CNM Student Health and Wellness Center.
There is a strongly set plan that roughly 650 students in health professions, all across CNM campuses, must adhere to in order to qualify and be accepted for clinical rotations, she said.
Many students end up getting too close to the student immunizations deadline and end up causing more stress for themselves and for the people who give the immunizations at the Student Health and Wellness Center, she said.
“It has been frustrating for students who are at the deadline for immunizations. If students are enrolled in health occupations they should check their emails because instructors will email them telling them to get their immunizations in order at the beginning of the term. This way we do not have people lined up out the door and we can leave when our shift is done at 5 p.m. and not be here at ten until 5 p.m. with people lined out the door trying to get their immunizations,” Haaland said.
It can take a week to 10 days to see if people have the required immunizations and students can get very scared and frustrated when they have worked hard to get accepted in to a program and are facing the possibility of getting kicked out because they are out of time to get results, she said.
“I cannot tell you how many people have been crying in the lobby and blaming me and everybody else because they have not gotten immunizations done or have not gotten their results in. You are going in to health occupations. Own your own responsibilities. None of the health occupations tolerate blame-shifting. Take ownership,” said Haaland.
Certified family nurse practitioner and senior director of the Student Health and Wellness center at CNM, Marti Brittenham said that people who are anticipating getting in to one of the health, wellness and public safety medical professions should try to start their immunizations at least a semester before they start clinical rotations. So students will not have to stress themselves out by scrambling at the very last minute trying to figure out what they need, she said. If students do not manage to start a semester before, then students should at least start during break or the first week of the term, she said.
“The organizations that health, wellness and public safety put students into (ambulance companies, hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics) require immunizations before students can go in. It is not technically a CNM requirement but a requirement of the organizations students get put in to for their clinical rotations,” Brittenham said.
Hospitals will not allow students to come in and take care of patients without up-to-date immunization records because it is dangerous to the student and the patient and creates a liability for the hospital, she said.
An anti-body titer is a blood test that is sent to the lab and meant to tell if someone has immunity to various diseases and can tell the immunity level of the patient, she said.
“We encourage students to get their medical records, bring them in and we will tell students which immunizations, or titers, they will need. Once you know what you need it is best to get the titers done right away because they take the longest time for results,” Brittenham said.
For more information on immunization due dates health major students can call 224-4111.

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