By Afiza Binti Bidin, Lecturer, School of Nursing
On September 29, 2020, the first-semester nursing students in SEGi College Kuala Lumpur received their first dose of Hepatitis B vaccination. On the day of the event, it was obvious that some of the students were nervous and frightened. A handful of students were excited to get the vaccination. Generally speaking, it was a meaningful experience for the students because as nursing students, administering medication is a basic requirement. Moreover, the benefits accorded by the vaccination is worth the pain of an injection, right?
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It is one of the major public health concerns worldwide. It has been estimated that more than 240 million people have been chronically infected with HBV, and therefore, are at risk of liver cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation, and hepatocellular carcinoma (Burns & Thompson, 2014).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that about 59 million healthcare workers are exposed to multiple occupational hazards every day. The most common hazard is the risk of exposure to infected patients and infectious materials, including body fluids, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, environmental surfaces, or air (WHO, 2019). According to Lewis et al. (2015), HBV is the most transmissible blood-borne virus, following percutaneous exposures, among healthcare workers. Recognizing that nursing students have a higher risk of getting HBV infection due to their potential contact with blood or body fluids and possible needlestick injuries, SEGi College Kuala Lumpur has recommended that all nursing students be immunized against HBV. In accordance with the Ministry of Health requirements, three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine sequentially must be given to all nursing students prior to entry into clinical areas in order to ensure their safety. Without this Hepatitis B immunization, nursing students are not permitted to start their clinical posting.
Armed with theoretical knowledge and skills, as well as HBV immunization, the first-semester nursing students are ready to begin their nursing career.
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