Background:Medical Assistants (MAs) are one of the top ten fastest growing occupations relied upon to provide immunizations in a variety of settings. The skills and educational level of MAs vary, impacting the delivery of immunization services and the prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. The Immunization Skills Institute (ISI) was developed to train MAs on proper vaccine administration techniques, including vaccine preparation, anatomic injection sites, and administration skills. Proper storage and handling practices are also included in the training. ISI is taught by licensed nursing personnel to ensure patient safety and positively impact immunization practices.
Objectives:To assess the impact of ISI training on the vaccine storage and administration practices of MAs.
Methods:ISI, a 4-hour training session, targeted employed MAs (e.g., front and back office) and senior MA students using a didactic presentation and a hands-on “skill-development” laboratory. Participants completed a pre-test which collected demographic information and assessed knowledge of vaccine storage and administration practices. Participants completed a post-test and a 2-month follow-up mailed or web-based survey.
Results:Of the 110 participants, the MAs were predominately 18 to 29 years old (55%); Latino (84%); and employed full-time (64%). At post-test, there were significant improvements in knowledge of vaccine storage procedures (p<.001); use of correct needle lengths for intramuscular (p<.001) and subcutaneous (p<.05) injections. Eighty-three (76%) participants identified at least three “aftercare” practices. At follow-up, increased levels of comfort and confidence in administering vaccines correctly were reported.
Conclusions:Preliminary data indicate MAs benefit from quality immunization training on vaccine storage and administration practices from licensed nursing personnel.