Emergency Department offers unique opportunity for general public outreach

Professors from the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing have unveiled a novel education strategy that significantly boosts patients’ willingness to receive an influenza vaccine – from 29 percent to 72 percent. Their findings, recently published online in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, describe the intervention, which involves a provider recommendation and an educational handout for low-acuity patients waiting for care in busy emergency departments. This setting offers a unique opportunity to reach out to the general population, including the underserved who use emergency departments as access points for their healthcare needs. “Overcoming vaccination barriers and facilitating access for underserved communities and high-risk patients has been a major focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paola German, corresponding author and a scholarship recipient in the D.N.P. – family nurse practitioner program. “We cannot wait until the next pandemic or outbreak to implement educational strategies in daily healthcare. Educating patients and creating a culture of vaccination among staff and providers are important steps in decreasing vaccine-related illnesses and the burden of these diseases in the community.”