mythofgriff

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Aug 1, 2016
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Today I went to get the TB skin test as it is a requirement for the PharmD program I'm starting in the fall. I had a pretty bad vasovagal reaction after seeing the needle and being poked. I couldn't stand straight up or understand what anyone was saying. They told me my face was pale and I remember being really shaky and sweaty.

I chose not to go into the medical program mostly because of this problem (I think MDs are required to be immunization-trained right? Although it is always the nurses doing it).

I wanted to know if anyone knows whether or not pharmacy schools require students to be trained on immunization. I don't really see how I would be able to complete that if I am at risk of passing out every time I see a needle. I have already received all of MY immunizations although, so hopefully I don't have to experience that again for a while.

I'll probably be going towards a hospital/clinical or research track so I will be able to avoid the community pharmacies that require pharmacists to give immunizations.

Thanks
 

Dalteparin

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Aug 17, 2009
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I wanted to know if anyone knows whether or not pharmacy schools require students to be trained on immunization. I don't really see how I would be able to complete that if I am at risk of passing out every time I see a needle. I have already received all of MY immunizations although, so hopefully I don't have to experience that again for a while.

I'll probably be going towards a hospital/clinical or research track so I will be able to avoid the community pharmacies that require pharmacists to give immunizations.

Thanks
My alma mater required immunization training, and if you work at a pharmacy as an intern, you might be required to give immunizations. Also, are you certain you've had all your shots? In addition to a yearly TB test, you'll need to be current with your flu shot (FluMist is not allowed if you work with immunocompromised patients), Hep B, tetanus, and chickenpox (unless you had it as a child, in which case you'll need to have blood drawn to prove immunity). Plus, in lab you'll be required to learn how to use diabetic testing supplies and point-of-care tests for INR or cholesterol and how to make IVs - lots of needles involved there.

Forgive me for being blunt, but you'll either need to get some counseling to help you get through this or find a different career. Best of luck!
 
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confettiflyer

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Every hospital I've worked at requires annual TB testing, though you could probably lie about it and say you've gotten a positive PPD in the past. At that point, you either get a CXR or have to fill out a questionnaire (I hate needles but I kind of want to know if I've picked up TB, we see a lot in house).

As for immunization training...sitting through the classes was required, but the final step of poking a partner and getting poked was optional. I opted out because I didn't care to do it and wasn't going into a role that needed it....and didn't feel like getting practiced on.

Every school will be different, though. Extreme needle phobia might be a legitimate medical excuse (hey @lord999 my ADA expert, where you at?)

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297point1

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Yup, pretty much a universal requirement now to go through the training program to become a certified immunizer while you are in school.

That means giving three shots to your classmates, and taking three shots in return from them.

Pharmacy might not mean blood and guts, but you can't avoid the needles anymore.

Forgive me for being blunt, but you'll either need to get some counseling to help you get through this or find a different career. Best of luck!
Yeah, what he said.
 

297point1

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As for immunization training...sitting through the classes was required, but the final step of poking a partner and getting poked was optional. I opted out because I didn't care to do it and wasn't going into a role that needed it....and didn't feel like getting practiced on.
Your school didn't make you give shots?
 

Litha

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We had to do both immunization training as well as self administration of insulin (we used saline) in the subq abdominal tissue.


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Yep, my school was the same.

We also were required to attend community health events and document that we gave real vaccines to a a minimum of 5 patients.
 

trailerpark

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You can never work at Walmart.


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BidingMyTime

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Not being able to give shots will pretty much exclude you from all retail jobs. So know going you will have to work hospital, which means you will have to do a residency, which means you will have to be competitive and need to find a hospital tech/intern job ASAP.
 
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confettiflyer

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Your school didn't make you give shots?
They tried really really hard to convince me, but on the syllabus, it technically said proceeding with the certificate requirement regarding injection observation/competency was optional.

I was the sole person who opted out that year.

I want to say the instructor (super nice person) offered use of their arms for me but I didn't want to do that to anyone, either.

Not sure if they've updated policy since then.


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mythofgriff

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Oh no. :/ I guess I will have to do some research and find some sort of therapy for my problem. I will try to check with my school advisor for the program too.

Getting the needle is bearable because I just have to sit there and take it and it doesn't matter if I pass out but I would really hate to hurt a patient (or classmate).
 

y0ssarian87

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Oh no. :/ I guess I will have to do some research and find some sort of therapy for my problem. I will try to check with my school advisor for the program too.

Getting the needle is bearable because I just have to sit there and take it and it doesn't matter if I pass out but I would really hate to hurt a patient (or classmate).
For what it's worth, we had a couple of classmates who also experienced vasovagal attacks in the past when they saw syringes and needles. They both got through it and are able to confidently give vaccinations. I'm not sure if they did anything special to get past it, though.

I'm sure the progressive learning helped. You first practice on "fat pads" that you strap to your partner's arm. You don't go straight into someone's arm until you have good confidence in your technique. (And good confidence that you won't pass out!) Best of luck.


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Niosh

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I've had similar problems in the past with getting blood drawn and such. My simple solution was to just never watch. It's something to do with the needle going into my skin that causes it. I have had no issues using needles (I've done tons of IV compounding) and giving vaccines. You might find poking someone else is a lot easier than getting poked yourself.
 

Digsbe

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We had to do immunization certification as well as insulin self administration. Many rotations required us to give immunization. I can't think of a single school that doesn't have students obtain an immunization certification anymore. You will have to give and receive shots as a student and likely will be giving them as a pharmacist if you go into retail.
 

confettiflyer

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Interestingly it sounds like I'm the extreme outlier.

5 years on, I never had to give shots on rotation, nor have I had to do any of that at work (as a resident or as a pharmacist, inpatient and outpatient oncology).

I want to say, at the time also, Pennsylvania did not allow intern pharmacists to administer vaccines, so that issue never came up on rotations.

I have a proverbial army of nurses that will administer an injection before me....and it's one more barrier to retail? Hey, fine by me! hahaha
 
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ldiot

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My school requires it.

You can either grind through it during school and then work in a mail-order or more realistically learn to overcome it.
 

winnguyen

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It might be 10 times more difficult and stressful spending your whole career getting notes from doctors and explaining in each class, on each rotation, on every application, at every job interview, and to every colleague and manager why you cannot give immunizations. By having to jump through all of these hoops all of the time, your overall vasovagal liability could be higher.
 
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brianuseruser

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Jan 22, 2009
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I did an acute care rotation at a hospital during APPEs and the students were required the immunize the entire hospital as well as members of the community. We gave hundreds of shots.
 
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6GodPharm

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I never gave any shot on any rotation in school. First shot I gave was a flushot as RPH. You will be doing those often in retail and Tdap as well. Bright side it helps your script count lol
 

Chriskahn

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At my school we were tested on prepping a needle and IM and SC techniques (on other students). We had to give out at least 5 shots during the semester at various immunization events in order to pass our applied patient care class. There was one student that had a needle phobia so she was allowed to test on a pad instead of an actual student.
 

sakigt

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Running towards the fear is a heck of a lot easier than running from it
 

Reirrac

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C'mon, get tough.

You'll get used to needles the more you see them, use them and get poked. Any pharmacist worth his salt should have no problems providing vaccinations. Rotations at retail and volunteer work will ask you to give vaccinations. Hospital work involves making a lot of IV drugs with needles and syringes. Hospital ER involves seeing blood n' guts and the smell of bodily fluids on occasion.

Needles are part of the job, as least while you're an intern. Better get used to it or you'll have a bad time.
 
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gwarm01

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C'mon, get tough.

You'll get used to needles the more you see them, use them and get poked. Any pharmacist worth his salt should have no problems providing vaccinations. Rotations at retail and volunteer work will ask you to give vaccinations. Hospital work involves making a lot of IV drugs with needles and syringes. Hospital ER involves seeing blood n' guts and the smell of bodily fluids on occasion.

Needles are part of the job, as least while you're an intern. Better get used to it or you'll have a bad time.
I feel sorry for people that got into pharmacy because they wanted to work in healthcare but couldn't stomach the gross stuff. To be fair, that hasn't been the case for us in some time so they probably should know. I've never had an issue with sticking people so it didn't bother me, but I would hope you could just suck it up and get through that lab. Plenty of jobs out there where you won't be giving shots.

Do people have needle phobias to an extent where they couldn't even make IVs? I guess anything is possible. Not to mention the fact that you will stick yourself sooner or later.
 
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