For the second straight year, Emory Healthcare has been honored by the American Nurses Association for having one of the top seasonal influenza vaccination programs for health care professionals.
Again this year, ANA received applications from hospitals across the country and Emory was honored as part of the "Best Practices in Seasonal Influenza Immunization." The recognition campaign elicited responses from health care organizations with effective seasonal influenza vaccination programs that resulted in increased seasonal influenza vaccination of registered nurses and other healthcare personnel.
"We place tremendous importance on our flu vaccine campaign as part of our overall commitment to quality health care and patient safety," says John T. Fox, CEO of Emory Healthcare. "I am very pleased that the ANA has again recognized the efforts of our employees to safeguard Emory's patients, and the successful efforts of so many to communicate and spread awareness of our program internally."
According to Cynthia Hall, RN, assistant director for employee health, a strong communications program is key in educating and encouraging employees to take action to protect patients, as well as themselves. "Vaccination against the flu is one of the quickest and easiest things a health care professional can do to protect themselves, their families and our patients," says Hall. "Our annual campaign is a vital tool in reinforcing the message of why vaccination is important, and in providing our employees vital information about where and when they can be quickly vaccinated. A shot in the arm has quickly become a badge of honor for thousands of employees at Emory."
The goal of the ANA program was to learn from the successful vaccination programs to assist other organizations in increasing their rates of seasonal influenza by incorporating effective elements from the awarded programs. Occupational health and infection control nurses in various healthcare organizations can utilize the brochure and other materials based on the findings to plan and implement their programs.
Since 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended annual influenza vaccinations for all health care personnel. Despite these ongoing recommendations, vaccination rates, as measured by the CDC, have remained low - between 36 and 43 percent for health care professionals. The transmission of influenza from health care personnel (HCP) to patients can create serious health care problems, especially among those who are at high risk for complications related to influenza.