Pharmacy Students Train to Fight Influenza
By The College of Pharmacy, 10/25/10
As we head into flu season, pharmacy students at The Ohio State University are learning how to administer and educate about infectious disease immunizations, such as influenza.
The program to teach pharmacy students first appeared on campus in the late 90’s, with the course being offered as an elective. With the importance of the prevention of disease and the role of the pharmacist in that equation, Ohio State became certified by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and obtained a site license to teach the APhA certificate course. Today, the now required course is taught to all P3 students.
Going beyond administering the immunization, pharmacy students also are trained to become educators for their customers, explaining the benefits of receiving an immunization, and working with others in the community, such as health departments and doctors, to make sure as many people are vaccinated as possible.
Marialice Bennett, professor of clinical pharmacy emphasizes the importance of educating future pharmacists, not only in treating an ailment, but also in disease prevention.
“It’s a lot more than just giving a shot, but also knowing who is eligible and who is at high risk,” says Bennett. “It is important to educate people and help them know where to go if the pharmacist cannot administer the vaccine, such as travel vaccines. The key is being able to screen and help patients decide what immunizations they need.”
The immunization course includes extensive self-study and live lectures before they are observed in the actual immunization process, asking screening questions, giving the shot, and follow-up questions with the patient.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death, especially for those at high risk. Because the strains included in the vaccine change each year based on global trends and data, the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
In addition to the influenza vaccination, pharmacists are also trained to administer vaccinations for a few select other diseases, such as pneumococcal and hepatitis A and B, and work with the primary care physician to keep immunization records up-to-date.
As always, if you have questions about influenza or other vaccinations, you should talk with your healthcare professional.
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, celebrating its 125th anniversary, was established in 1885 and was one of the original six colleges on campus. Its mission is to advance pharmaceutical care for the people of Ohio and the global community through teaching, research, and service. For more information the College of Pharmacy visit pharmacy.osu.edu.
For official information on influenza and other infectious diseases, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.