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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