While some students have to decide whether they want a flu shot, other students don't have a choice. A flu shot is mandatory for UTA nursing student before starting their clinical rotations. A clinical rotation is time a student spends at a hospital to get nursing experience. Clinical instructor Deborah Hughes said a flu shot is mandatory because the institutions they attend for clinical rotations require the students to get the shot. “The reason for that is because nurses and students are taking care of very sick patients, and if that student or nurse has the flu, they can give it to that very sick patient and that can be detrimental to the patient’s wellness," she said. Nursing junior Angie Espinoza said she didn't get the flu shot until she joined the nursing program. “I never got the flu shot because of my personal opinion," she said. "I really don’t see the point of it, but the shot is required, so I got it.” But there may be UTA nursing students who have allergic reactions to eggs or egg whites or have religious beliefs against shots and, therefore, cannot get the flu shot. If that is the case, there has to be documentation showing proof for why they cannot get.
UTA nursing students can still go to clinical rotations without getting the shot, but there are several things that must be done first. Hughes said students would have to sign a waiver and follow any precautions the hospitals give to the students. “They just have to sign a form that says why they didn’t get the flu shot and let the institutions be aware they do not have the flu shot," she said. “Some of the hospitals will make you wear a mask when caring for the patients.” Nursing junior Blanca Garcia said she got the flu shot and about a week later felt flu-like symptoms. She hadn't started her clinical rotations yet, but she still went to UTA's Smart Hospital for training. “I felt really bad but still went to the Smart Hospital because I didn’t want to miss any learning,” she said.
If a student does get sick and has to miss clinical rotations, Hughes said they have to call the faculty member prior to starting the clinical rotation and the student has to make up that time. “We will provide them with a case study. It's additional paperwork they would have to do or an alternate clinic site to make up the time," she said. "Also, it depends on the faculty member and the course, what else needs to be done. For the students to pass their clinical, they have to attend all the clinical hours that are required by the course because all of our clinicals are passed or failed.”
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