To ensure you meet the Standards of Practice for RNs you need to consider the following:
Do you have the required competencies specific to immunization?
You first must determine if you have the necessary knowledge, skills and judgment to safely administer immunizations to the patient population you will be serving. The competencies required to safely administer immunizations are outlined in The Canadian Immunization Guide (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015).
Is there an order for the immunization?
Registered nurses can only administer immunizations when there is a direct order or a care directive written by an authorized prescriber. You will need to determine if the physician will see each patient and write an order or if a care directive can be developed in collaboration with the physician to enable you to assess a client, administer the flu vaccine and administer treatment for anaphylaxis. For further information on Care Directives, please see CRNNS’s publication, Care Directives: Guidelines for Nurses.
What will your employment status be? Will you be an employee of the physician or will you be considered an external contracted service?
If you are an employee of the physician, you should have liability protection through them. You should ask the physician about the type and amount of liability protection they provide. You should then contact the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS) for advice related to the appropriate type of liability protection for the nursing care you are providing and if this protection is adequate.
If you are an external contractor, you are considered to be self-employed and you must consider liability protection. You should contact CNPS for advice related to the appropriate type of liability protection for the nursing care you are providing.
Are there office policies to support your practice?
The physician office should have a scope of employment for the RN assisting with flu immunizations and policies related to the immunization clinic. Policies should describe documentation practices, storage of the vaccine and management of potential adverse events (such as anaphylaxis).
To summarize, you will be able to administer the flu vaccine to clients and or to staff and/or volunteers once you confirm the following:
- You have the required competencies;
- There is an order (either for each individual or through a care directive);
- You have adequate liability coverage; and,
- There are office policies to support your practice
For further information related to the RN or nurse practitioner role related to the administration of immunizations please refer to CRNNS’s Role of the RN/NP – Immunization Q and A.
If you have any questions about this Ask a Practice Consultant or another area of practice, please reach out to a Practice Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org.