Flu vaccination training requirements: FAQs

Flu vaccination training requirements: FAQs

June 12, 2018

PSNC has received several queries from pharmacy contractors and LPCs on the training requirements for the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service and whether the revised National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners which were published by Public Health England (PHE) in February 2018 will change the requirements.

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) address the issues raised with PSNC.

Q. Do the 2018 National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners contain lots of changes compared to the previous 2005 versions?

No. The revised document contains several updates to the 2005 version, but most of the revisions reflect the expansion of the immuniser workforce beyond doctors and nurses, and the approach that has been taken in recent years to the training of pharmacists and other “new” vaccinators. For example:

  • e-learning courses may provide an effective mechanism through which immunisers can access training. A blended learning approach can be utilised with an e-learning course used alongside face-to-face sessions;
  • foundation training and updates should be tailored to suit the requirements of the immunisers to their specific area of practice and the vaccine(s) that they administer. So, the training of a new immuniser who will only administer one type of vaccine should cover all the topics in the core curriculum, but these should be made context and vaccine specific. With only one vaccine to cover, length of training will be shorter than for those who give a range of different vaccines; and
  • annual update training – face to face updates are likely to be of particular value to those who give or advise on a diverse range of immunisations, e.g. practice nurses. However, it is recognised that for some immunisers in some areas of practice, face-to-face updates may not be feasible, and updating may be best undertaken through self-directed learning. Methods for this may include undertaking the assessment modules of an immunisation e-learning programme and doing/re-doing the necessary modules to refresh knowledge. Practitioners could also read through the “Information for healthcare practitioner” documents on the PHE website, listen to any available webcasts and read recently published articles on immunisation relevant to their area of practice.

Q. I have heard that the 2018 National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners include a new requirement for supervised clinical practice following training. Is that correct?

A period of supervised clinical practice is recommended, but this is not a new requirement – this was also recommended in the 2005 documents.

Q. Who does the recommendation for a period of supervised clinical practice apply to?

The document states that those new to immunisation should receive comprehensive foundation immunisation training, either through a face to face taught course or a blended approach of both e-learning and a face to face taught course. New immunisers should also have a period of supervised practice and support with a registered healthcare practitioner who is experienced, up to date and competent in immunisation.

Q. Does the recommendation for a period of supervised clinical practice apply to pharmacists who have previously been trained to vaccinate?

If you have vaccinated patients in the past and consider yourself to be an experienced vaccinator, supervised practice would only be required if you feel it would benefit your professional practice, e.g. if a long duration of time has passed since you last vaccinated patients.

Q. I am a pharmacist who is commencing immunisation training for the first time so I can provide the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service. What are the steps I need to take?

If you are a new vaccinator we recommend the following steps:

  1. Complete your core training (face to face and any other learning directed by your training provider);
  2. Complete the Vaccination Services Declaration of Competence (DoC) on the CPPE website;
  3. Undertake a period of supervised practice with a registered healthcare practitioner who is experienced, up to date and competent in immunisation; then
  4. Should any additional training need be identified during your supervised practice, undertake the further training and then review your DoC.

Q. What is the idea behind undertaking a period of supervised practice?

In addition to acquiring knowledge through a theoretical taught course, practitioners need to develop clinical skills in immunisation and apply their knowledge in practice. A period of supervised practice will allow acquisition and observation of clinical skills and application of knowledge to practice when the practitioner is new to immunisation.

Q. What happens during a period of supervised practice?

Before starting to give immunisations, it is recommended that all new immunisers should spend time with an experienced registered practitioner, such as an experienced pharmacist immuniser, who has undertaken training that meets the national minimum standards and is experienced in advising about immunisation and giving vaccines. The new immuniser should have the opportunity in these sessions to observe and discuss relevant issues with the experienced practitioner.

Those new to their role in immunisation should also demonstrate an appropriate standard of practice to their supervisor. This supervised practice should be structured and robust and follow a clear, comprehensive checklist so each step of the consultation is considered. A competency checklist such as that written by PHE and the Royal College or Nursing (see Appendix A of the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners) should be used for formal assessment and sign-off of the practitioner’s clinical competency in immunisation. A copy of the completed checklist should be retained in the practitioner’s personnel file.

Q. How long should a period of supervised clinical practice be?

PHE advise that there is no agreement or evidence as to how many times supervised practice should occur, but both the supervisor and new practitioner need to feel confident that the practitioner has the necessary skills and knowledge to advise on and/or administer vaccines. If the practitioner administers a range of different vaccines to patients of different ages, their supervisor should ensure this is taken into account and they should be given the opportunity to observe and also be assessed on this range.

Q. Are there any qualifications which apply to the experienced healthcare practitioner?

The supervisor does not require a formal teaching and assessing qualification but should be competent in immunisation and have the ability to make an assessment of a new immuniser’s knowledge and skills. One of the supervisor’s key roles is to go through the assessment document with the new immuniser and assure themselves that the new immuniser has the appropriate level of knowledge and skill to undertake their role in immunisation.

Q. Can another pharmacist act as the experienced healthcare practitioner within a period of supervised clinical practice?

Yes, as long as the pharmacist is competent in immunisation and has the ability to make an assessment of a new immuniser’s knowledge and skills.



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