As someone who trains on flu each year, I regularly encounter individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge and proficiency – not only in flu but also in immunisation in general. Often, some are aware of the need for improvement, while others only realise it during the training session.
In today’s rapidly evolving world, staying abreast of the latest developments can be quite challenging. Keeping pace with the advancements in the flu vaccine field is no exception.
Just like in immunisation and travel health, the UK guidelines recommend annual updates as a minimum requirement for flu vaccine practices. Whether you’re already considering an update or haven’t given it much thought, here are ten compelling reasons to consider enrolling yourself or your team in a flu vaccination update course:
1. Navigating the New Strains
The flu virus is known for its ability to mutate and present new challenges each season. Every year the flu strains change and the flu vaccine products evolve too. By staying updated, you’ll be better prepared to tackle questions about the strains effectively.
2. You will gain some training tips and tools
Even if you are already really up to date with all things flu related, you can gain some tips and tools for supporting your less experienced peers on an update course. The Health Academy trainers have all had experience in managing, assessing, and educating staff in their areas of practice. So, they have plenty of suggestions to hand if you need them.
3. Addressing Vaccine Myths
“My friend got flu from having the flu vaccine!”
Misinformation about vaccines is prevalent. With updated knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to debunk myths and provide accurate information to patients. For example you’ll be able to explain that inactivated vaccines cannot cause the diseases for which they are designed to prevent.
4. You don’t just learn what’s going on right now, you learn HOW to keep up to date
It always surprises me how many people haven’t heard of the Vaccine Update for instance. This resource is super easy to subscribe to and full of useful tips around increasing vaccine uptake, knowing where to order vaccines and which ones are currently in short supply. I had an update class of twenty recently and not one person in the group had heard of it! It’s also amazing how may delegates don’t know that all the flu information for the coming flu season can be found in the National flu immunisation programme letter.
5. You get some useful practical tips from your peers in other areas
Discussion is important and delegates on the courses often learn a lot from each other too! For instance you might gain (or share) some tips about:
- Organising the flu clinic
- Booking processes and appointment timings
- Resources to give out to patients
- Managing huge lists
- Which is the best coffee to have in the break room.
(The most memorable practical tip I’ve overheard was around which brand of kettle boils the fastest and keeps fluid warm for longest for those who have overrun into lunch).
6. Navigate the ever changing eligible groups.
Understanding which vaccines are most suitable for specific patient groups allows you to give effective vaccine recommendations which in turn improves vaccination rates and overall public health. Annoyingly, however, then keep blooming changing them!
7. Fulfil the gold standards in the guidance!
UK guidance (National Minimum Standards) for immunisation suggests that updates should be annual, and given that the flu vaccines change every year it’s a pretty obvious one really! This means that your clinical governance and compliance department will be kept very happy. Remember as well, we’re all accountable for our own practice, if our training is out of date, we open ourselves up for culpability if things go wrong.
8. Have a breather and realise that everyone’s in the same boat
There’s rarely a bigger relief-smile from a nurse, pharmacist or HCA who’s in the clinic alone with the door firmly shut. Get away from the day to day chaos of clinic lists! Take the time to do the studying you rarely get precious time to do. Whatever your struggles are, someone else usually has the same problem. I wish I had a pound for every health care worker who’s said ‘yes!!! We have that issue too!!!’
9. There are more useful guidance and assessment documents available than you think!
For example, I’ve been noticing that a common competency document that people say they have never heard of is in the NICE guidance for working under PGDs. I taught over 200 delegates last month. I’d say the figure is well over 50% for PGD-users who say ‘Ooo I didn’t know about that one’.
10. Feel proud of yourself
You get to remind yourself how important your role is by looking at the bigger picture and how essential your advice and skills are. Just looking at the ten threats to global health by WHO should affirm this alone! Doing a flu vaccination update course allows you to step back for a bit and just reflect on all the important things you do and why.
Plus, perhaps most importantly, even those doing a cracking job usually find out something they have should have been doing or not doing along the way.
So, hope to see you on an update soon!
Whether you are the person that books the training for your organisation, or even if you have your training booked for you, it is never too early to get organised.
Do you need to plan the training around your summer holidays? Is it your responsibility to make sure that the whole team is up to date with their training? Are you the type of professional that likes to get the training done early and then revisit it before the season starts? Do you need to book a workshop session including BLS, Anaphylaxis & Vaccination skills? Does your clinic need a private flu PGD?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, we can help make sure that you or your organisation is ready for the season well in advance. Visit our dedicated Flu Hub now to explore all of this years flu options.