Impactful Messages from a KC Doc, a Good Samaritan and an Orange Clown Nose
Oct 03, 2012

As a mother, it’s not easy to always be responsible for the care of others.  That is why I admire people who work as health care professionals.
Like moms, health care workers are severely limited by time, challenged by constant adversity and expected to have all the answers.  But as hard as they try, health providers often find that there are limitations to modern medicine. Unfortunately, despite the best medical care, people sometimes suffer and lives are lost. This is why prevention is so important.
The first step in prevention is often education. And when it comes to preventable disease, I’m often inspired by the genuine devotion of a health care providers and their commitment to immunization education.
Just yesterday a report was released in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, entitled “Vaccines in childhood: Strategies to address the concerns of parents.” The report includes data that helps define parental concerns about vaccination and then outlines the appropriate steps that can be taken to address these concerns.
But even if health professionals are trained to identify parental immunization concerns, how can they ensure their messages are being heard? 
Well, this is where ingenuity and creativity come in to play.
Take for instance the unique post I saw yesterday on the KC Kids Doc blog.  Dr. Burgert turned a personal experience with a local measles outbreak into an opportunity to generate global vaccine awareness and goodwill from within her own community. She even took the time to share her efforts and her community’s contribution to the Shot@Life campaign in this video below.
Another health provider who is equally committed to innovative education initiatives is Melody Butler, BSN, RN, a pediatric nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in NY.  She was recently honored with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Immunity Award, a national award that is part of the Bringing Immunity to Every Community project.  Melody was recognized for her initiatives to educate the public about the benefits of immunization.  Her efforts go far beyond her role as a Good Samaritan employee and include local speaking engagements, online advocacy and her initiative to create a workshop for staff on Good Samaritan’s pediatric unit which addresses vaccination issues.

Melody Butler, BSN, RN, a pediatric nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, was recently honored with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Immunity Award.

Melody’s efforts outside of the hospital are very impressive.  Not only is she actively engaged on a number of Facebook pages such as Vaccinate Your Baby in which she shares information and counters immunization myths, she also helps administer the Wear ‘Em, Nurse ‘Em and Vax ‘Em Too page which is a place for parents to discuss attachment parenting and childhood immunizations.   Melody even initiated the Nurses Who Vaccinate Facebook page which provides current evidence-based information for nurses, alerts visitors to immunization related educational opportunities and promotes immunization programs and activities such as the upcoming Orange Noses Day on October 5th.
While research tells us that physicians and other health professional are the most trusted source for parents seeking immunization information, providers are constantly challenged to find meaningful and relevant ways to reach out to their patients and share important immunization messages.  While the idea of wearing an orange foam clown nose may seem a bit out-of-place for a health provider, the intent is to encourage patients to be more receptive.  Sometimes doing something a bit unexpected (like wearing an orange clown nose) not only makes a provider more personable and approachable, but may also be effective in garnering the attention needed to begin the conversation.It’s clear that these health care providers I mention, as well as many others, will go to great lengths to do what is best for their patients.
If you’re a provider, perhaps you can elaborate on what techniques you have used with patients that seem most effective.  And if you’re a parent, perhaps you can share a personal experience in which you have felt that your concerns or question were acknowledged, appreciated and adequately addressed. 

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6 responses to “Impactful Messages from a KC Doc, a Good Samaritan and an Orange Clown Nose”

  1. Lawrence says:

    Cool stuff – thanks again for posting this Christine!

  2. Melody RN says:

    Thank you Christine for sharing the Nurses Who Vaccinate Facebook page and bringing awareness to Orange Nose Day. I know my colleagues and I are quite excited for the fun day- it’ll be a great way to educate and speak about the important lifestyles that promote health and safety.
    I love the effect the patients and their families had in Kansas City to help raise money for Shot@Life. 1,348 is a tremendous number of children who will be receiving life-saving preventative medicine intervention. I hope Dr. Burgert is able to reach out to other generous communities with her message and gain additional support- Maybe a follow-up video can be made to show how widespread her advocacy spread!

  3. Karen says:

    Both of these women are inspiring. They couple passion and creativity all for the good of public health and children. Thank you for sharing their stories. I hope they inspire others into action!

  4. Katie says:

    These women are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing; this encourages me to work even harder on countering the myths and misinformation of the anti-vaccine movement.

  5. Lara Lohne says:

    I loved the video. What an awesome way to help other children get vaccinated! I’m not a health care provider, but raising as many kids as I have, I can empathize with what it must be like for them, trying to help their patients to the best of their ability and possibly running into patients who are less then receptive to their professional, medical expertise. I suppose my doctor and my children’s doctors have had it easy, because they didn’t have to convince me of much. I knew I was going to vaccinate my kids so that wasn’t even an issue. And when my children were ailing with one thing or another, which didn’t actually happen that often to be honest, they would give me their advice, I’d ask any questions that I had, they would fully answer them without making me feel like I was stepping on their toes by asking these questions and then I’d ‘follow the doctor’s orders.’ While I do consider myself an intelligent and well educated woman, there are some things I don’t know, because I haven’t studied them in depth. Medicine is one of those things. I can build a computer, reformat your hard drive and install your operating system with the best of them, but I’d never think about performing a medical procedure on someone, no matter how much about it I had read on the Internet. The idea that I can learn more on the Internet then a doctor can learn going to school for 4+ years is ridiculous. Just so it’s clear, I do not claim to have a degree from ‘Google U’, and I think anyone who says they do is silly and/or foolish. I give much credit to health care providers for all that they are required to put up with. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that each and every day and I personally and very glad to have them available.

  6. Lara Lohne says:

    Oops, that should have read, “I personally AM very glad to have them available.” Sorry, I’m tired.

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