Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why This Nurse Chose a Flu Shot over a Mask (And then took a Selfie)

To be honest, I am one of the least photogenic people I know and probably the only person my age who has not mastered the art of the selfie.  I usually can’t be bothered to even think about selfies, never mind actually taking one.  But they are very popular, and probably will be for a while. Unlike Flu shots for some reason. Lately there seems to be a lot of controversy about flu shots, despite all the data and information researchers have showing that it is effective and safe.  I recently read that there were 108 pediatric deaths in the United States from Influenza during the 2013-2014 Flu season, and majority were unvaccinated  That is 108 children who won’t go home to their parents.  If you’re thinking well I’m not a kid but I am young and I am healthy why should I bother with the flu shot?  Put it this way during that same 2013-2014 flu season >60% of the hospitalizations for Influenza were people from ages 18-64 years old.  

Now I am a Registered Nurse, I have an associate’s degree in nursing and bachelors in psychology.  I am also currently working on finishing my BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing).  It’s pretty safe to say that helping people is of particular interest to me.  I care for others when they are not well; it’s what I do in my profession and what I do in my personal life.  When I am not working I will even volunteer my time at the health department, I care about the health of others even beyond my friends and family.  

When I was at my pinning ceremony after completing my ADN my entire cohort in front of all of our friends, family, and the faculty we recited what is commonly referred to as the Florence Nightingale Pledge:

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

Getting my flu shot every year is one of the simple ways that I can elevate the standard of my profession and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.  By getting my flu shot every year I reduce my risk of being a vector of preventable disease and passing it on to the patients in my care, my loved ones at home or people I encounter in the community while going about my life.  I am practicing what I teach and preach about often the best health care is preventative care.  Being a nurse who vaccinates, is being a nurse who cares. 

Here is a selfie of me getting my flu shot this year and I hope you actively choose to get one too.  Why did I get my flu vaccine? I feel ethically and morally obligated to protect those around me that are at risk from my extra exposure by working in health care, and I hate being sick too.

When you do get your influenza vaccine, be proud and share it along with the many pro-science nurses and vaccine advocate who are speaking up loudly. Post your flu shot selfie on the Nurses Who Vaccinate Facebook page. Tweet it and post it to Instagram with the hashtags #VaxSelfie, #VaxWithMe #FluShotShoutOut. Be sure to send it to us at @NursesWhoVax . Who knows, if enough of us show the public that we as nurses are getting flu vaccines, maybe #FluShotsSaveLives will be the next trend. 

Tarsha-Marie Schwarzengerg, RN, Nurses Who Vaccinate Member

Nurse Tarsha-Marie is a Registered Nurse licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her specialties include nephrology, dialysis, home care and pediatrics. She is married with a three year old child with whom she enjoys knitting, hiking and camping. The family pets include cats, dogs and a rabbit, and yes, they're all vaccinated. 

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