The Journey to becoming a Nurse Immuniser

Written on the 25 November 2020 by Caring For You Nursing Agency

Have you thought about becoming a Nurse Immuniser? Our member Natalie has shared her first hand experience to answer some questions you may have and provide tips for a smooth experience. 

Journey to complete the Immunisation Course

I had always thought about doing the immunisation course and figured there would be a time in my career I would complete it. I knew it was something that interested me as I enjoyed that part in my normal work. I had continued my education after finishing university so had always kept an eye out for jobs that might require it. As I was returning from maternity leave, COVID hit! I was without a job and my son was in daycare, now was the time to do it! As soon as they have a vaccination, there will be heaps of work available.

What's involved?

I called the University of Melbourne to ask about the process. My first step was to find a workplace or a local council who would take me on for my placement. If you have access to a GP clinic that does immunisations, it's worth asking. Placement was estimated at around 1-2 days, you have to achieve a certain amount of vaccinations rather than work a specific amount of hours like nursing degree. I was given a list and I started calling and emailing everyone. For me, I was happy to drive to Gisborne, Warrnambool or Traralgon for a one day placement. I expected the more inner city placements would book up faster with the universities, I was right. These three locations were the fastest options, don't be afraid to drive or make a road trip out of it. The people on the list were shires and local councils mainly. Your own local council will have a section that deals with immunisations, it's worth asking. Maternal and child health nurses are also good places to ask. Once you have secured that person you can enrol with University of Melbourne and pay your fees.

Getting your own immunisations up to date

Next step is making sure your own immunisations are up to date. This was by far the longest part of the process for me. A routine blood test will give you most of your results, although you may have to pay an out of pocket fee for the TB test. They were very specific about time frames etc. I graduated university in 2008 and this was too long for them, they wanted sooner, so more tests were ordered. I would allow up to 6 weeks to get these sorted. I would also explain to your GP what you are doing and ask if they would be happy to help fill out the paperwork over a Telehealth appointment or drop it in. All up I needed to visit my GP around 6-8 times to get this all sorted. Make sure you have all the paperwork, questions etc. before visiting and make sure you know what the university expectations are.

The Course

The third step is to complete the course. I found this part super interesting, as my son has just had his first year of immunisations I was able to reflect on those and gain additional information. What made me feel comforted as a mother and what maybe wasn't so nice. Mainly it's the interaction between the child and nurse, while also making sure the parent is reassured. Immunisations are a great stressor to even the most seasoned parent. There is a lot of information about the different immunisations but mainly how they are combined, so many combinations. You're not expected to know all of it at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know how to access it. There are resources and guides they step you through. There was a lot of work involved with learning catch up of immunisations but after speaking to some immunisation nurses this is more done in the GP and nurse environment. The most daunting part is the independence a nurse immuniser has. As I've spent over a decade waiting for the doctor to give me the plan, now I can help make the plan. There wasn't a lot about injection technique in the course, they expect you to know how to give IM injections and on children. This is covered in detail in your placement. At the end of each section there were exams that can be taken in the comfort of your own home. Most sections took about a day. Without my son home, I found it was best to sit down in larger time frames rather than 1 hour here or there. I personally did the theory and exam in a day for each subject.

Placement Time

Once the coursework, exams, and your own immunisations are done it is placement time! My placement has been cancelled and rescheduled several times due to COVID. The best thing is to be flexible and open to times and you will get it done. All the immunisation nurses I've met are lovely and welcoming of students. At the end of the day we all have the common interest in protecting our community. Enjoy and good luck on your next adventure!

- Natalie RN RM (Caring For You Member)

If you're interested in becoming a Nurse Immuniser, Immunisation (Nurse Immuniser) courses are offered at:

The University of Melbourne is offering the course:

Australian College of Nursing (approved in all states)- Course 306

Please note - These courses are not run by Caring For You, you will need to contact the providers directly if you are interested. 


Author:Caring For You Nursing Agency

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