Immunizations & nursing school


Hello All,

I need some advice on the approach I should take regarding a controversial topic. I am currently in the process of applying to nursing school & have never received immunizations because of personal reasons. I recently emailed my advisor about the issue and asked to receive declination forms to sign. She stated that nursing students are required to have current and updated immunizations and that hospitals have the right to deny me clinical rotation in their facility. My concern is that this cannot possibly be correct. Entering a hospital with no immunization history is my own personal risk. If I get sick, that is my problem. Also, there has to be a doctor or nurse in the entire country who has refused immunizations. Why did the college of nursing not contact me when I entered the university & listed my major as nursing? I am pretty devastated to say the least & am scared that I may have to withdraw my application or this issue with put a "red x" by my name. Does anyone have any feedback on this issue?

Specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

You aren't going to be able attend clinical without immunizations and will be denied admission to the nursing program because of this end of story. You also put your patients at risk for infection not only yourself. You can't fight bureaucracy and expect to win.


827 Posts

Specializes in pediatrics, public health.

Not only will you not be able to attend clinicals, you will not be able to get a job as a nurse after you graduate (at least at the vast majority of health care facilities). If you feel strongly about not vaccinating, you will have to choose a different profession.

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma.

the only vaccine my school allows you to refuse is hep b, and you must sign a waiver for that. in nursing you are protecting and caring for your patients- you catching a contagious illness due to lack of vaccinations puts all patients you come into contact with at risk. it's not your "own personal risk", it's a risk for everyone you care for.


1,246 Posts

Has 36 years experience.

You are now at a personal crossroads. The vaccinations are mandatory - they protect you and others. Your own issues with getting vaccines may need to be re-examined. If you feel that strongly about getting vaccinated then you shouldn't work with a compromised public.

I wish you the best in examining your beliefs and coming to a momentous decision.


16 Posts

Not only will you not be able to attend clinicals, you will not be able to get a job as a nurse after you graduate (at least at the vast majority of health care facilities). If you feel strongly about not vaccinating, you will have to choose a different profession.

Agreed. I've had all of my immunizations and the hospital I work in STILL drew tithers on me and let me know that if any came back with insufficient levels of immunity, I would be required to be re-vaccinated.

The only suggestion I have is to see if you can have tithers drawn to see if you have become naturally immune, but that is still a long shot, esp for getting a job.


133 Posts

I agree with the above posters. As a patient, I expect my doctors and nurses to be vaccinated. If I am sick and my immune system is in a weakened state, you could carry something (not even have symptoms for it) and infect me. This isn't about personal preferences, it's about safety of patients who rely on health care professionals. Sorry.

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

Yes, not being vaccinated doesn't just endanger yourself, it is a danger to your patients. Think about if you are doing your maternity rotation, and you are starting to come down with something dangerous for pregnant women and the newborns. You could be contagious before you feel sick or know what it is. I don't know of any hospitals anywhere near me that would let you do clinicals, much less get a job without showing proof of vaccinations, as well as certain titers (such as vericella-zoster and hep B).

And I'm certain this will go for any healthcare field, not just nursing.

MunoRN, RN

8,058 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

Immunizations for Nursing School and Hospitals aren't to protect you, they are to protect your patients. While it is true you could still pass on some illnesses after being vaccinated, you are far less likely since the viruses or bacteria cannot proliferate. As a healthcare worker there are no legitimate personal reasons for not being vaccinated just as there are no legitimate personal reasons to refuse a drug test. You probably need to find another career.


691 Posts

There are so many things wrong with your assertions. Not having a vaccination is not just "your problem". You will endanger every single patient you come in to contact with, ESPECIALLY because your first semesters will all be with the elderly, who are at a higher risk of getting sick. If you don't mind my asking, what are your reasons for declining the vaccinations?

VioletKaliLPN, LPN

1 Article; 449 Posts

It is correct. Nurses and doctors have vaccinations.

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma.

i just wanted to add that i'm sorry that you are just learning this now and your life plans may have been derailed a bit. it can't be an easy thing to hear. the school didn't contact you when you listed your major as nursing because if you learn one thing in nursing school, it is that everything is your responsibility (as in it was your responsibility to look into what is required for nursing school before you committed).

i understand that immunizations are a controversial subject, and i have many dear friends and family who do not immunize themselves or their families, some with good reason (egg allergies), and some based on now-debunked fraudulent studies. i personally delayed my kids' vaccines until they had grown a bit, the onslaught of so many at once seemed a little harsh to me.

if nursing is truly your dream, please take the time to do some research into vaccines, look at the disease rates before and after vaccination implementation (h. influenza b is a particularly shocking one), and question yourself. if your values hold strong after this lesson, than nursing is not an option for you. if you find that you think differently than you did before, than pursue nursing.

either way, i wish you the best of luck on this road. ((hugs))