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Following reports on the rise of measles cases in the United States, faculty in the Auburn University School of Nursing developed a simulation exercise on immunization education. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US had experienced 704 cases of measles this year as of April 26, the largest annual number of cases in 25 years. Last week, Alabama recorded its first presumptive case of measles this year, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Morgan Yordy, an assistant professor, and Ann Lambert, an assistant clinical professor, initiated the simulated experience for second-semester nursing students. Two rooms in Auburn’s Engaging Active Group Learning Environments in Simulation (EAGLES) Center were converted to reflect a typical health department or hospital classroom. Community members volunteered to portray parents of pediatric patients who were visiting the school to gather additional information regarding immunizations for their children. Students were responsible for educating them, including responding to any questions or concerns.

Simulated experiences allow students to apply knowledge and skills attained in class in an appropriate and realistic setting where faculty can evaluate competencies. Auburn faculty reported that students provided accurate and reliable information about the importance of children receiving vaccines, emphasizing vaccine safety and efficacy, and the potential consequences of parents choosing not to have their children vaccinated.

Meghan Jones, assistant clinical professor and director of clinical simulation and skills, tells AlabamaNewsCenter.com, “Students developed knowledge and communication skills to speak to community members regarding how to protect their children from many communicable diseases, and how to educate families, who may be hesitant, without bias or prejudice. Students reported they had the necessary knowledge and skills to discuss vaccine information with ‘concerned parents’ and, after the clinical session, they were more confident in their abilities to educate others.”

Measles is a contagious, airborne virus that causes serious health complications and spreads through sneezing and coughing. Anyone not protected against measles is at risk of acquiring the virus. Alabama currently has a high rate of vaccination but the state could experience a measles outbreak if children are not vaccinated. State law requires children to be up to date on their vaccinations prior to attending school. Adolescents and college students must also be up to date on their Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) immunizations.

To learn more about the immunization education through simulation exercises conducted by nursing students at Auburn University following reports on the rise of measles cases in the US, visit here.  

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