By Christine Moffa, MS, RN, AJN clinical editor

Head in the Sand, by jvh33, via Flickr

A few weeks ago I attended an orientation provided by the New York City Department of Health for a school-based H1N1 vaccination program. Years ago I worked as a school nurse here in New York and I thought participating in the program would be a great way to keep up some clinical skills and spend time with patients. A physician from the bureau of immunization gave an informative lecture reviewing the epidemiology, signs and symptoms, prevention, and treatment of influenza.

There were about 100 nurses in attendance, many of them new graduates who were unable to find full-time work. During a break one of the new grads said to me, “why do we have to sit through this irrelevant lecture?” I couldn’t believe it. If you’re administering a medication, I told her, of course you’d want to understand how it works and why you’re giving it. In addition you need to be able to explain it to the patient or their parent. She rolled her eyes and walked away. And I thought, once again: this is why nurses are not taken seriously as professionals.

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