Vaccination competence of public health nurses

Public Health Nurs. Nov-Dec 2011;28(6):533-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2011.00943.x. Epub 2011 May 2.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the vaccination competence of Finnish public health nurses.

Design and sample: A survey design was used. Participants (n=405) were public health nurses working in health centers in Finland.

Measures: The data were collected using a structured instrument and were analyzed by SAS.

Results: The mean of self-assessment was 8.3 and the proportion percentage of correct answers in the knowledge test was 83 %. According to the self-assessment, public health nurses felt they were most competent in achieving the desired outcomes of vaccination implementation and poorest in their qualities as vaccinators. In the knowledge test, the public health nurses were familiar with vaccination recommendations and common contraindications, but showed room for improvement in managing an anaphylactic reaction, aseptic practices, and knowing the names of vaccines. There was a statistically significant link between the results on the self-assessment and the knowledge test.

Conclusions: Further training should be organized in the areas where knowledge was lacking. It would be useful to further investigate differences in competence between public health nurses working different sectors. These results could be utilized in education, clinical nursing practice, administration and research. This study demonstrated that vaccination competence can be measured by means of the structured instrument.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Community Health Centers
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Immunization / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses*
  • Public Health Nursing*