Retired Nurses, Out-of-State Licensed Nurses, and Students Volunteering to Assist at COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
Nursing is a diverse profession with many components that allow nursing to contribute to the overall health of a community. There are many actions associated with the practice of nursing and thought to be in the domain of nursing. While assessments, education, and plans of care are an example of nursing’s domain, giving an injection is a task and not considered solely the purview of nursing. Therefore, the Board of Nursing does not consider the act of giving an injection a task for which licensure is necessary. To accomplish the task safely, the entity providing the clinic services should establish competency.
Retired or Out-of-State Licensed Nurses:
A retired nurse does not have a current nursing license. Retired status does not allow the individual to practice nursing; the retired nurse is prohibited from establishing protocols, providing independent patient assessments, developing education materials, or intervening in an emergency, other than what is commonly expected from a layperson.
However, as stated above, no license is necessary to provide an injection. If retired nurses wish to volunteer at vaccination clinics, they would do so as individuals who have a skill, but not a license. Because they are not currently licensed, the Board cannot verify the competency of the retired licensee. It is up to the clinic to determine if the retired nurse possesses the competency to give an injection by whatever means the clinic has developed, such as observation or watching a video regarding injections. The retired nurse would work under the supervision of a licensed professional within the clinic. The retired nurse would not be working under the license of the clinic staff; however, clinic staff are responsible for supervising that the retired nurse is safely providing the injection as per protocols.
Nurses who have an out-of-state nursing license and wish to volunteer only to give shots at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic may do so. As stated above, it is up to the clinic to determine if the nurse has the competency to give an injection.
The Board of Nursing has no involvement in an educational program's decision to grant or not to grant credit hours for any volunteer activity. The Board has no jurisdiction over students unless they are volunteering as part of their education program and are under the supervision of their faculty. While faculty is not required to be onsite, the faculty must remain available to the clinic staff and the student in case any issues arise. It is entirely up to the education program to determine if it will award credit hours for this activity. The program and the facility must have an affiliation agreement in order for the student to be considered a nursing student. Without an affiliation agreement or faculty supervision, the individual is no longer a student. The individual is a member of the public with some education in the task of providing an injection. Neither the program nor the Board can verify competency. If an individual volunteers outside of their program, the clinic must assure the same competency validation of skills as described for the retired nurse.