Program for Nurse Immunisers

The School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine (Brisbane) of Australian Catholic University offers the Program for Nurse Immunisers

The Role of Nurse Immuniser

Rationale:

The Program for Nurse Immunisers prepares Registered Nurses for the legislated role of Nurse Immuniser also known as Immunisation Practice Nurse. This is an advanced role incorporating semi-independent practice under a Drug Therapy Protocol with role responsibilities specified by an organisation’s Health Management Protocol. This role recognition enables the nurse immuniser to practice within particular parameters of practice, which ensures safety of both the public and the nurse.

The Role of Nurse Immuniser:

Immunisation is an important public health issue for all health professionals. In Queensland, Registered Nurses, who practice as Immunisation Program Nurses, are required by Queensland Health to have completed a course that was previously accredited by the former Queensland Nursing Council. The Program for Nurse Immunisers was previously accredited by QNC and previously led to endorsement as a nurse immuniser in Queensland.

This program is currently approved by the Director General for 2013 – 2018, having been recommended by the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office, Queensland Health as "a qualification in immunisation approved by the chief executive", as per the following:

Immunisation Program Nurses are permitted to act under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996, Section 175(3), to be able to offer and administer vaccinations in accordance with the Queensland Health Drug Therapy Protocol and their organisation's Health Management Protocol, as per the following:

This is a largely independent role, working in collaboration with a team of health professionals.

Registered nurses from other States may be able to apply for credit/recognition of prior learning from 2013, as most interstate courses are not recognised formally by Queensland Health.

Program and Policies

Program Outcomes:

On successful completion of the Program for Nurse Immunisers, the nurse will be able to:

  • Apply relevant legislation, policies and ethical principles to professional practice as a nurse immuniser.
  • Integrate knowledge of the principles of immunisation and vaccination within the nurse’s role in health promotion.
  • Demonstrate competency in the administration of vaccines in a range of clinical contexts.
  • Recognise and respond appropriately to outcomes of the vaccination process.
  • Provide an immunisation service that is congruent with relevant standards of immunisation practice, whilst working within the requirements of the Queensland Health Drug Therapy Protocol and the organisation’s Health Management Protocol.

Program Overview

The program is only open to Registered Nurses, currently only those in Queensland. The program is offered twice per year. Theoretical assessment is undertaken online with a final on campus written examination to ensure individual students have attained the necessary theoretical knowledge.

Students are required to undertake 10 hours of clinical practice and assessment in a suitable immunisation setting, supervised by a Nurse Immuniser, who meets the requirements to be a Clinical Assessor. This practice and assessment is organised by the Coordinator, in consultation with the student. Students are not permitted to organise their own clinical practice and assessment.

Students are required to complete the program within a six month period from enrolment.

Program Components

Theory component (online – computer based)

Theory for The Program for Nurse Immunisers is accessed online. Enrolled students will access the ACU website and log-in to an online learning unit using a username and password provided by the university on enrolment. Students will need their own computer with reliable Internet access or to be able to access a computer, for example at their workplace or at the ACU Library. 

Content and readings are available to students in the online unit. No paper based materials are provided, but students may print content and readings, if desired. Students are required to undertake all online readings and answer all online quiz questions. Once students have successfully completed all online modules, they are required to complete an on campus written examination. Students living outside of Brisbane may be permitted to attend the examination at their workplace supervised by their employer, following consultation with the program coordinator. 

The time taken to complete the theoretical component is calculated at 140 hours of focused learning which, with 10 hours of clinical practice, is equivalent to one unit of study. However, the time spent by a student on theory depends on the student’s educational preparation and their familiarity with content and the online learning environment.

Online support is provided by the Coordinator and Library staff, while technical support is provided by ACU LEO Online and IT Servicedesk support services staff.

Clinical component (clinical practice and competency assessment)

Once the theory component is successfully completed, students are required to undertake 10 hours of clinical practice and competency assessment at a suitable clinical practice venue. ACU has service agreements with suitable Council and Hospital immunisation providers for clinical practice. Students must undertake clinical practice with a recognised provider, as organised by the Coordinator, and be supervised by a nurse immuniser, who meets requirements to be a clinical assessor.

If you are employed by Queensland Health and can undertake your clinical practice with a Queensland Health Nurse Immuniser, we can offer a 20% discount on enrolment.

Program Completion

Students must also provide proof of current registration as a nurse and of current CPR competency prior to enrolment. These must remain current throughout the program duration and students are advised to maintain currency for future practice.

Upon satisfactory completion of theory and clinical components of the program, students will receive a statement of completion and transcript which are used as evidence of qualification as a nurse immuniser to employers.

Registered Nurses must safely retain the statement of completion to show to potential future employers, with a charge of $20 to cover administrative costs to replace this statement if lost.

Participants must complete the program within the required timeframe.

Assessment Criteria

  • Online reading of module content and relevant government and journal readings, accessed via Internet links and Library electronic journal password accessed links.
  • 20 – 30 Online quiz questions for each module.
  • A High Distinction (HD): 85-100% correct answers - must be achieved after 3 attempts at each online quiz.
  • Over 85% correct answers must be achieved for an on campus written examination with one examination re-sit permitted.

Course Length

  • 150 hours of focused learning
    • including 10 hours of clinical practice and competency assessment.

Clinical Practice Requirements

  • 10 hours of clinical practice and assessment
  • In a suitable immunisation setting where nurse immuniser practice is undertaken 
  • Supervised by a Nurse Immuniser who meets Clinical Assessor requirements
  • Clinical Practice will be negotiated with the Program Coordinator and undertaken at a selected Brisbane or Ipswich location ONLY

Pre-requisite Requirements

  • Must be a Registered Nurse with current annual practicing certificate
  • Must have Current CPR competency for infants, children, adults
  • Basic IT literacy skills
  • Must have access to a computer with Internet connection and a valid, current email address
  • Ability to pay by cheque or credit card (not AMEX)

Employment as a Nurse Immuniser

  • Nurse Immunisers are employed at council immunisation clinics, private immunisation companies and in some travel clinics, some GP clinics, and in some hospital staff health clinics. Many positions are seasonal or casual. There are limited full time employment opportunities for nurse immunisers, so RNS are urged to carefully consider their own employment prospects before commencing this program.

Further Information

  • Numbers will be limited to facilitate efficient administration and teaching.
  • No discussion will be entered into regarding continuation of the program beyond the specified completion date.
  • Enrolments will not be processed unless current CPR Certificate and proof of registration is attached

Refund Policy

A cancellation fee of $50 will apply to any registration cancelled before the program commences. Cancellations will only be accepted up to 14 days prior to Program commencement.

If you wish to cancel your registration please email: sue.kellner@acu.edu.au or jacqueline.meachen@acu.edu.au

If you withdraw from the Program during the first two weeks you will be charged an administrative fee of $200. Should you withdraw from the Program after the first two weeks you will be ineligible for a refund.

Please register your interest in this program in order to receive the next advice about potential enrolment for 2012 and beyond. Contact: sue.kellner@acu.edu.au or jacqueline.meachen@acu.edu.au or Phone: (07) 3623 7276

Recognition / Accreditation for Program for Nurse Immunisers in all Australian states / territories

National
Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) does not endorse Registered Nurses/Midwives for nurse immunisation.

There is no national endorsement or recognition for any nurse immuniser course (despite what some course providers state in their advertising).

Queensland
The program is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Office of Queensland Health. We are approved to provide this course to prepare nurse immunisers (immunisation practice nurses) for QLD.

The program has consistently been accredited for QLD by the former Queensland Nursing Council - since its commencement in 1997. This program led to endorsement by QNC until QNC was subsumed into AHPRA and the endorsement system was not continued.

Completion of this program means you are recognised for practice as an immunisation practice in QLD.

Students need to be available for clinical placement in Brisbane or Ipswich and should not expect a placement in other sites throughout the state, though at times we are able to organise a placement elsewhere, dependent on several strict conditions.

Victoria
The Victorian Department of Health has approved/accredited the Program for Nurse Immunisers as being suitable for nurses wishing to practice as nurse immunisers in Victoria.

Therefore, Victorian employers will recognise this program to enable you to practice nurse immunisation in Victoria.

If an RN from Victoria wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.

Western Australia
Several nurses who have completed the Program for Nurse Immunisers were able to gain recognition for this course enabling them to practice nurse immunisation in WA.

Please contact WA Health Dept for more information.

If an RN from WA wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.

New South Wales
There are other program providers operating in NSW with recognition from NSW Health.

Therefore, it is not clear if any RN completing our Program for Nurse Immunisers will be recognised for practice as a nurse immuniser in NSW.

However, it is known that many of our students have been approved for practice in the past.

If an RN from NSW wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.

It may be that an RN from NSW will practice in QLD if they live close to the border or undertake agency clinic work in QLD.

Australian Capital Territory
It may be that the NSW information applies to the ACT.

Please contact ACT Health Dept for more information.

If an RN from ACT wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.

Tasmania
Please contact Tasmanian Health Dept for more information.

If an RN from Tasmania wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.

Northern Territory
The NT Health Department has offered online courses that are ‘suitable for national recognition’.

Therefore it is likely that this program would be recognised as suitable for nurse immunisation practice in NT; however, please contact NT Health Dept for more information.

If an RN from NT wishes to enrol in this program, they will need to undertake clinical practice in Queensland in a Brisbane or Ipswich setting.