Experiential Learning is a Win-Win For PharmD Student-Led Flu Clinics

Andrew Vandermause and Taylor Kitzke

Andrew Vandermause gets his influenza vaccine from Taylor Kitzke (DPH-3) during Operation Immunization, the annual influenza vaccine clinic at the School of Pharmacy.

With the flu season here, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy students play an integral role in campus and community influenza vaccine clinics. All Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students have the opportunity to obtain hands-on practice, educate patients, and serve the community. Third- and fourth-year PharmD students who have completed the Comprehensive Immunization Delivery course serve as immunizers, while first- and second-year students are greeters and screeners at the clinics.

Niki Krancevich (DPH-3) and Paige Shapiro (DPH-2) are co-chairs of Operation Immunization as part of the Wisconsin Society of Pharmacy Students (WSPS) and help coordinate student volunteers for each influenza clinic and have assisted with more than 15 clinics.

“I have personally participated in two clinics and anticipate more,” says Shapiro. “This gives students a chance to interact with a diverse set of populations, since it is recommended for most people to get a flu shot.”

Niki Krancevich and Paige Shapiro

Niki Krancevich (DPH-3) administers the influenza vaccine to Paige Shapiro (DPH-2) at a flu clinic.

For third-year students, the clinics provide the opportunity to practice skills taught in the classroom or lab. In partnering with nursing students, who also can administer the vaccine, PharmD students learn the importance of an interprofessional health team.

“Immunizations is an area where pharmacists can have a great impact on patient care, and these clinics help expose students to the role that they can play in our community,” says Krancevich.

In collaboration with University Health Services, pharmacy students staffed clinics providing flu shots to fellow UW–Madison students. In addition, the students volunteered to help screen and administer flu shots in a clinic for individuals experiencing housing insecurity in the Madison area. Six clinics were held throughout the fall season.

“Many of the patients to whom our students provide care are at high risk for complications of influenza infection,” explains Mary Hayney, professor in the Pharmacy Practice Division at the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy.

The seasonal influenza immunization is recommended for all healthcare providers with many healthcare institutions requiring it for employment or clinical experience. “Our students are required to receive an annual influenza vaccine in an effort to protect themselves and their patients,” says Hayney.

UW–Madison School of Pharmacy students gain clinical experience at a vast number of care sites around the state and must prove they have received an annual influenza vaccine in order to participate in their clerkships.

Read about previous flu clinic outreach by PharmD students.

Learn more about WSPS’s community outreach, including Operation Immunization.