Implementing a Healthcare Worker Pertussis Immunization Program: Benefits and Barriers
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2013
© 2013 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2013 Convention Proceedings
Volume 42, Issue s1, page S61, June 2013
How to Cite
Rust, C. L. (2013), Implementing a Healthcare Worker Pertussis Immunization Program: Benefits and Barriers. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 42: S61. doi: 10.1111/1552-6909.12141
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2013
- healthcare worker;
- health belief model
Purpose for the Program
To create an education plan to empower healthcare workers to understand their susceptibility to pertussis and to receive the pertussis vaccination.
To increase the number of pertussis immunized healthcare workers from approximately 20% to 90% at one healthcare facility.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
By increasing the number of healthcare workers who have received the pertussis vaccination through a comprehensive healthcare worker pertussis immunization program, the likelihood that a newborn infant and mother would be exposed to pertussis from a healthcare worker would be greatly decreased. This would increase fortify the pertussis cocoon the healthcare facility attempts to establish around the newborn and his/her family. Pertussis immunization also would protect healthcare workers from exposure to pertussis from patients, family members, and visitors. Pertussis infection in newborns carries a significantly high morbidity and mortality rate because these infants are too young to have received their pertussis vaccination.
A comparison of healthcare worker immunization rates before and after program implementation will be calculated. A survey of healthcare workers will also be conducted using the Health Belief Model framework to determine their reasons for receiving the pertussis vaccination and the perceived barriers to pertussis immunization. These results will be used to modify the immunization plan to increase adherence. If the healthcare worker immunization rate does not reach the goal of 90% then a mandatory pertussis immunization policy may be implemented.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Pertussis is a completely preventable disease that can be almost completely eradicated through proper immunization. Currently most healthcare workers are not aware of their potential susceptibility to pertussis or that they could acquire pertussis from patients and individuals in the community in which they live. According to a study by Calagar et al. (2006), healthcare workers are at 1.6 times higher risk of acquiring pertussis than the general population. Increasing pertussis immunization rates for healthcare workers to 90% would protect the healthcare workers, newborns, the newborns’ mothers and family members, other patients and visitors, and the community from pertussis infection. The pertussis healthcare worker immunization plan also could benefit the employee and healthcare facility by decreasing potential employee absence due to pertussis illness.