Ever give yourself a flu shot before?

  1. Up until yesterday, the answer for me was "No". It's never been a problem before..........I'd always worked where there were other nurses available to give them. Then a few days ago as I was organizing flu clinics for the residents and staff of my ALF---and I must say I'm proud that 90% of my staff complied, as opposed to 20% in past years according to my boss---it occurred to me that EVERYONE would be able to get one......except me! Even my hubby the maintenance man could come to my office and get his flu shot, instead of paying $30 at the doctor's office.

    But who would give me mine? I didn't want to go to the doctor and pay $30 either, not when I had free vaccine available. I didn't want to go to the health department and fill out a ream of paperwork, pay $20, and then sit there for two hours and wait for my turn. And I sure as heck wasn't going to let any of my staff---not even the ones who are trained to give insulin injections---take a poke at my deltoid with a 1" needle!

    Well, I've never heard of anyone doing this before, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So I figured, hmmmm........what are the elements of a flu vaccination? I have a leg, which contains a big ol' muscle called the vastus lateralis; I have flu vaccine; I have a needle and syringe; and I have the skill to use 'em. Besides, I had nothing to lose---what am I going to do, sue myself if I make a mistake and hit a nerve? People all over the world have to give themselves injections every day.......so I loaded up my syringe, performed the customary ablutions, waited for the alcohol to dry, and POINK!

    Now I have some mild redness and soreness around the injection site, just like everybody else in the building. What's funny is, my staff and even some of the residents think that's about the coolest thing they've ever seen a nurse do........."You are one tough chick!" my lead med aide gushed admiringly (and as a bonus, SHE decided to get a flu shot for the very first time in her life, even though she's been a healthcare worker for half a dozen years). High praise from someone who's got tattoos on every major area of her body.

    Anyone else ever do this? I can't imagine there'd be any rule against it, especially when one is the ONLY licensed nurse anywhere in a facility; but it did feel kind of funny to do my own flu shot and document it in my own personnel record.

    Oh well.........at least that's one less thing I've got to worry about this winter. I NEVER miss getting a flu shot, and working with the elderly as I do, I tend to think of it as a social responsibility as well. Even if it's a do-it-yourself job!
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Hats off to ya, I couldn't do it!!
  4. by   RNin2007
    w00t! Good job! I probably would have done the same . I am a nursing student and if I had an extra arm I would practice doing IVs on myself...lol. Not needle phobic at all here.

    ~J
  5. by   smk1
    Laughing at this because I almost gave myself one today because we were giving flu shots at the student health clinic, and I didn't want to bother anyone else. (worried about getting in trouble though so I got someone else).
  6. by   EricJRN
    Have to hand it to you! Once removed sutures from my fingers, but can't seem to 'needle' myself. Couldn't even do my own fingerstick Hgb when I worked in a blood bank. :P
  7. by   LilRedRN1973
    I practiced injections on myself in nursing school and am married to a former Infantryman to used to practice IV's on himself. If nobody else was around to do it, I'd happily give myself the vaccination!

    Melanie = )
  8. by   maryloufu
    I give myself B-12 injections and would gladly give myself the flu shot as opposed to waiting in employee health to get one.
    Good job.
  9. by   fetch33
    One of my earliest nursing jobs involved working on a diabetic floor. Part of the orientation involved living as a diabetic for a week and giving myself injections of saline. Don't know if I could do an IM shot though.
    A few years ago, my sister's horse pulled the end of my thumb off. I had reconstructive surgery. It was gory and messy for a long time. I had a problem with the absorbable sutures. The end of my thumb wouldn't heal up because there were threads hanging out the end of it. I pulled on the threads and noticed a knot moving down by my cuticle. I used a hypodermic needle and cut the side of my thumb open and after working on it for an hour, I eventually removed the knot. The end of my thumb finally healed up after that. If you want to see gross pics, go to ShowMeYourWound.com and look up Horse Play under wounds :chuckle
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Kewl! I like gory stuff, so I'll have to check that out.:chuckle

    I've done some pretty gruesome things to myself in the past---lanced a boil on my abdomen, taken out sutures, dug out a plantar wart, did my own fundal massage. I figured it wasn't as bad as having a doctor or another nurse deal with it, because I could control the amount of discomfort. I've never really minded shots, but frankly, my technique is better than a lot of peoples', and I barely felt the thing.....until the next day, of course!
  11. by   jenrninmi
    I would have done it, if there was no one else to do it. I've drawn my own blood before. Anyone else?
  12. by   DutchgirlRN
    I gave myself my own flu shot just this week. It didn't hurt at all. I gave it to myself in my right thigh. (vastus lateralis) I just went fast like I do with patients and it didn't hurt one bit. I don't think had I not tried Byetta earlier this year, giving myself SQ's, that I would have had the nerve to do it. It honestly didn't hurt a bit.

    I've been doing flu shot clinics for the past two weeks and also thought "what about me?". What the heck I'll stick myself. I had one elderly come for a flu shot who was 87 years old and this was her first ever flu shot. Also a lady came in whose husband is a medical doctor. She doesn't believe in medicine. He got the flu shot, she didn't. She hasn't been to a doctor in 38 years, no pap, no breast exam, mammo, no meds no anything. Her dh just shock his head and said "I know, I know, but I can't do anything about it". I asked her if I could check her BP she said "NO". I thought my Mother was a real medical challenge but at least she does go when I drag her and does take her meds when I force her to.
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Oct 26, '06
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    Good for you, Joanna!

    I'm the same way........if I hadn't had to practice "insulin" (actually NS) injections on myself in nursing school, I don't think I'd have had the cojones to do an IM on myself either. I remember being nervous as all get-out---they made us do the injections in our abdomens, which seemed like a really scary place to me, but then I never even felt it when I finally screwed up the courage to plunge it in there. Again, I say, when I can control my own level of discomfort, I find that it's almost never as bad as it is when someone else does it!
  14. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Marla-

    I agree with you. I'll treat anything of my own that hurts before I'll let someone else; especially splinters and things of that nature. However, giving myself a shot or venipuncture is another story. See, the thing is, I can't watch things go into my skin. That I can let other people do. I'd rather someone do it with her eyes open, thank you very much. It completely creeps me out. I watched them get blood from me one time and was fine until I saw the needle under my skin. Then I was ready to hit the floor. I try not to think about it because it still causes me the shivers.

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