To increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence among students, the school of nursing developed the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Certificate. This program was completed by undergraduate students enrolled in Nursing in Communities course and graduating DNP and PhD students at the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and Central Methodist University nursing programs. Modules include COVID-19 vaccine development, safety, and efficacy; vaccine hesitancy; COVID-19 vaccine information vs. misinformation; motivational interviewing; and health communication and social media campaigns. Students who completed the certificate were encouraged to engage in COVID-19 vaccine confidence conversations in community settings. In addition, a subset of students enrolled in the Nursing in Communities course worked with a group of students from the School of Journalism. These students collaborated on messaging materials for the certificate and created a public health campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates and fight misinformation. Working together, the students created a targeted outreach campaign using a mix of social media, newspapers, television, and other advertising mediums. Communications also were made available to local public health departments and extension centers in the areas with a need.
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The initial press release from the MU News Bureau about the school of nursing’s project resulted in several local news stories that were picked up regionally, nationally, and internationally. Due to this publicity, the school of nursing established collaborations with the Missouri Immunization Coalition and Dr. Kevin Everett from the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the MU School of Medicine. In addition, the Building COVID-19 Confidence Workshop and Simulation Sessions were well-received by students because they were able to engage in motivational interviewing practice sessions with standardized patients. This project also provided a wonderful opportunity to include DNP and PhD students who are the future educators and leaders of the profession.