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#flufighter live – chat summary

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Read the summary of our first live twitter chat discussing flu vaccination among nurses, which took place on Thursday 15 November.

This was a well-informed discussion on the problems that nursing staff, particularly students, have faced in receiving the flu vaccination at work or on placement within a trust. There was also praise for the online approach to the flu campaign and how social media has the potential to positively change the way healthcare information is shared and disseminated.


The chat started with @AdamRoxby explaining the difficulties that have been discussed among his peers. Adam is the student editor of Student Nursing Times and has written a blog post about the problems that some student nurses have had in obtaining the flu vaccination.

Adam explained: “Some have said that they have been refused because they are not actually ‘staff’ from the trust. Then some were having trouble with the OH departments of the Uni saying that it was the GP’s job.”

All health care workers, including student nurses, are eligible for a free flu vaccination to protect themselves, their family and patients.

Empowerment for student nurses

It was mentioned that student nurses need information about any vaccinations they are entitled to on placement within trusts, to empower them to approach their line managers and occupational health departments.

When asked about the support that students receive while on placement it was highlighted that some feel they are the lowest form of staff, so this low confidence could be a reason for students not asking about the vaccinations they are entitled to.

Chat participants stated that student nurses are the future workforce and that “we forget that at our peril!” 

PICU nurse Dan Bowen , from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, later joined that chat and said that he is: “Very very passionate that students get jabs as they have same contact with patients as we do!”

Mandatory vaccination

There was small discussion about making the flu jab for health care workers mandatory, much like BCG for midwives – something which was highlighted in our first combined flu chat with NurChat in October.

It was highlighted that the flu fighter campaign materials and embracing social media has kept trusts and individual healthcare workers informed and up to date.

“I must say the online approach has very much influenced me this year. Lots of good information from good sources, well done.” says Teresa Chinn, agency nurse.

Dan @gracenglorydan also added: “Tweets have kept flu at the forefront of our minds” 

The chat progressed with shouts for #flufighter trending on twitter and how any NHS-related hash tag trending in the UK would be a modern day healthcare achievement.

The potential that twitter holds for online nursing communities and sharing healthcare information was highlighted further. “I have just been guided to #nhssm ‘every contact counts’ of course! So vital and potentially world changing!”

Closing comments

  • Peer-to-peer vaccinators are important within trusts
  • Students need to be empowered with information about the vaccinations they are entitled to
  • The online approach to the flu fighter campaign has been well received
  • “Great chat! [twitter is] like the ripple effect it will spread unlike the flu which won’t thanks to #flufighter!”

Read the full #flufighter chat transcript on storify.

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