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Nursing and pharmacy students need negative tuberculosis tests every year to be cleared for clinicals in area hospitals.

Nursing Students Administer TB Tests

by Clem Boyd

Rhonda Smith, compliance advisor for student success in Cedarville University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

In the experience of Rhonda Smith, compliance advisor for student success in Cedarville University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, tuberculosis (TB) tests are one of the hardest injections to administer. These tests, administered under the top layer of the skin, require more finesse than flu shots and other intramuscular injections.  

To prepare Cedarville nursing students to administer these tests, and to ensure that nursing and pharmacy students meet the requirements to work in hospitals, Cedarville’s school of nursing, school of pharmacy and University Medical Services (UMS) are partnering for a TB test clinic on April 8. The tests will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the first-floor clinic in the Health Sciences Center (HSC). Nursing students will administer approximately 250 tests.  

This marks the first year that the schools of nursing and pharmacy will combine their TB test clinics. The school of nursing will provide the students to administer the tests, along with faculty to oversee them and ensure correct procedure. The students, who are volunteers from the sophomore, junior and senior classes, have received training and testing opportunities on mannequins and will gain valuable real-life experience. Smith and other faculty members will receive the tests from them as well. The school of pharmacy will provide additional manpower, while UMS will provide equipment and supplies and take care of billing.

TB tests work by injecting a small serum into a person’s forearm. The Monday following the test, Smith will inspect each student’s injection site to look for a reaction indicating a positive diagnosis.

Hospitals require proof of negative TB tests every year for student workers to get clinical experience. Smith explained that TB is not very common in the United States but is more common in other countries. While some nurses never have to give a TB test their entire careers, others administer them more often. The process for administering allergy tests and pre-kindergarten examinations is similar.

By getting their TB tests in April, students will be cleared for clinicals during the next school year. In addition to these tests, students must receive flu shots every fall to work in hospitals, which will be offered to nursing students at a clinic in the fall.

“I’m thankful for this experience, and our students love it,” Smith said. “In the lab, they practice on mannequins, but here, they have a real-life chance to do a TB test, and the students who are receiving it don’t mind because they know it’s going to be from students. It’s a win-win for everybody.”  

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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