Objective: To describe the role of student pharmacist interns in supporting a standing orders program (SOP) for pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination in hospitalized patients.
Setting: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Presbyterian, an academic teaching hospital in Pittsburgh.
Practice description: The hospital-based Drug Use and Disease State Management (DUDSM) program designs, implements, and promotes evidence-based practice guidelines to ensure safe and cost-effective drug therapy. PRACTICE INNOVATION/INTERVENTIONS: Paid student pharmacist interns provide manpower for screening and maintaining the vaccination SOP. Student preparation includes classroom learning about immunization concepts, on-site SOP workflow training, and direct patient care activities. Students participate in the vaccination SOP by (1) screening daily admissions through computerized information systems, (2) reviewing databases for documented prior vaccination, (3) completing preprinted orders for pharmacists, (4) inserting orders into patient charts, (5) checking vaccine administration, (6) educating nurses, and (7) managing the databases. Pharmacists verify and sign vaccine orders. Nurses obtain patient history and consent and administer vaccines.
Main outcome measures: Hospital vaccination rates as determined monthly for quality improvement reporting, and student time required to complete SOP functions.
Results: In 2005, an average monthly vaccination rate of 70% for hospitalized elderly was achieved by this inpatient SOP, with the highest rate (89%) occurring in March. On average, 800 patients were screened each month, with 480 vaccine orders placed into patient charts.
Conclusion: A vaccination SOP is resource-intensive and requires a diligent effort from qualified personnel. In our institution, trained student interns in the DUDSM program perform the necessary daily functions, such as patient screening, that are instrumental in maintaining the SOP.