Influenza Vaccine Intervention in a Rheumatology Clinic Population

Rheumatology Congress (UK)—December 7, 2011

Recently two rheumatology nurses from Hospital for Special Surgery, Julita Reyes-Canu, MSN, RN, and Monica Richey, MSN, ANP-BC/GNP, were interviewed by Catherine McClinton for a segment on epidemiology and public health. The nurses elaborated on their presentation at the 2011 American College of Rheumtology meeting. The objective of their study was to design a nurse specific intervention that would increase the number of patients who received the influenza vaccine at the hospital's rheumatology clinic. 

CM: Youíve done some incredibly interesting work. Perhaps you can give me some background as to why you conducted this research?

JRC: We were looking for benchmarks for rheumatology nursing  and we looked at the influenza rates because the risk of infection is high in our population. We found out that the clinic populations were getting none to very little influenza vaccine. So we decided to create a nursing intervention to raise the number of patients who are receiving the influenza vaccine in our clinic.

CM: How exactly did you actually go about undertaking your research?

MR: We did advertise the availability of the vaccine in different areas of the hospital. We also had a paper survey in place which a nurse would use to assess a patient. We asked questions about the vaccine. Whether they would accept the vaccine or not? If they would have it that day? When they refused we provided them with more education as to why they needed to get the vaccine. We were able to convince about 17 percent of the patients to take the vaccine. 

CM: The nursing intervention was very important. Can you discuss your results after the intervention with the nurse and raising patient awareness?

JRC: The years before we had a very low rate of about 6 percent, when we started the intervention we increased the rate to 20 percent. This year we improved to 40 percent of the population receiving the flu vaccine. We were able to properly educate the patients as to why it is important to get vaccinated.

CM: Did your research explain why patients did not get vaccinated in the past?

MC: They had many reasons, from getting the flares to getting sick, as well as other strange answers.

JRC: The nursing education does work. Patients donít recognize the importance of receiving the influenza vaccine.

CM: That shows in your results.

View the video at rheumatology-congress.co.uk.

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