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“Smart” Syringe Helps Train Student Nurses

Yesterday my husband came home complaining that he had to get a flu shot at work and it hurt. He works at a medical facility and one of his friends administered the shot. Now I’m not sure if it hurt because his friend intended it to as a joke, but there is a new devise to help student nurses learn how to administer a flu shot properly. This could be good news for students in a licensed vocational nursing program.

On NewsWise.com, a publication of the University of New Hampshire, an article was posted describing a new syringe developed by UNH researchers. “UNH nursing and electrical engineering faculty have crossed departmental lines to create a ‘smart’ training syringe that will help nurses and other health care professionals learn how to give the most effective intramuscular injections by providing real-time feedback. It’s the first device of its type ever created.

“’We want to be sure people are getting the medicine in the muscle where it’s going to work. This would be a way to ensure that people are getting immunized,’ says Paula McWilliam, assistant professor of nursing, who is collaborating with professor John LaCourse, chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering.”

The article continues to explain, “The project, which has produced a prototype training syringe, has its origins when McWilliam realized the dearth of both standardized procedures for giving intramuscular (IM) injections and of teaching tools for helping new nurses learn to give injections. Although injections are common – 16 billion are given per year – and considered a basic skill, if they’re not given properly, McWilliam says, their effectiveness at delivering medicine could be compromised.”

The prototype of the syringe is made of plastic and has sensors on it that measure force and acceleration. “How you grab it, how you move it through space, how deeply you push it in all gets measured,” says LaCourse, and is then transmitted to a computer. “For example, the syringe’s readout could advise a student to modify technique by adjusting their injection angle.”

Not that it’s not completely fun practicing giving shots on other students (cringe!), but this just might provide a safer and pain free alternative for future students in an vocational nursing school.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit