Nurses Night Out Focuses On Polio Prevention
Oct 23, 2013

This guest post was written by Melody Butler, BSN, RN, and pediatric nurse.  As the founder of Nurses Who Vaccinate , Melody has received various national honors, including the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Immunity Award and the Elsevier ‘Superheroes of Nursing’ Award presented at the 2013 ANCC National Magnet Conference.   Today she writes about her global health advocacy and the efforts she’s making to engage other healthcare professionals.

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. Sometimes, after a long night shift, the last thing I want to think about are patients and diseases. After spending 12 hours on a pediatric floor caring for sick children, I’m pretty tired and would be happy leaving ‘work at work.’ But as most nurses and healthcare workers will tell you, what we do isn’t a career or a job that stops when we clock out, but rather a calling and a ministry. It’s that sentiment that brings me to the global health advocacy I’m involved with long after I walk off my unit.
Thanks to modern-day medicine and amazing advancements in science, I rarely encounter patients who are suffering from vaccine preventable diseases. When I do care for these patients, their stories stay with me and I strive to prevent others from experiencing the pain they have had to suffer.  These experiences motivate me to stay up-to-date on immunization education and news on infectious diseases. When I encounter patients and families who have concerns and questions about vaccines I know that I’ve worked hard to provide accurate information so that they can make the best decision for their health and safety.
Nurses Who VaccianteIn my desire to make sure my fellow nurses and I stayed current with the medical research regarding immunization, I initiated Nurses Who Vaccinate. I then partnered with amazing organizations such as Every Child by Two and Families Fighting Flu to help educate others through social media efforts that reach beyond my local community and extend throughout the nation, and even the world.  I’ve learned that this year 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S. Why? Because one in five children around the world does not have access to the life-saving immunizations needed to survive.
To address these global concerns, and work towards a solution, I became a Shot@Life Champion. In this role, I support the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally, improves economic stability around the world and even keeps our families healthy here at home.

As a commitment to this cause I’m hosting a World Polio Day event called Nurses Night Out on October, 24th. The event serves as a “thank you” to the local health care workers who are committed to keeping our communities healthy and safe.  It will also bring attention to the fact that a child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that we can prevent.  Nurses are some of the most compassionate people I know, and it’s important that they realize that millions of children could be spared from measles, pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and other preventable diseases, if we could simply ensure they have access to life-saving vaccines.

It’s no coincidence that I’m holding this event on World Polio Day.  That’s because World Polio Day represents celebration and awareness. We should celebrate the success of the polio eradication effort – the millions of lives that have been saved and the fact that polio vaccine has helped children avoid the devastating complications of polio. However, we need to be aware of the continuing work that is necessary to completely eradicate this horrid disease.
Every day healthcare workers in this country provide access to vaccines in order to ensure our children remain healthy. As the creator of Nurses Who Vaccinate and a Shot@Life Champion, the Nurses Night Out event is the perfect way to show appreciation for our healthcare worker’s efforts, while introducing them to the needs of our global community.  The message of the night will focus on global health advocacy and inspire them to see that if we all work together we can ensure that children, everywhere, have a healthy shot at life.
Melody Butler, Nurses Who Vaccinate

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