Friday, May 16, 2014

Crossing the Border... to Save Lives

We’re going over the border for meningococcal disease protection . . . and in honor of our daughters.

As you may know, the United States does not currently offer protection from meningococcal disease serogroup B.  Serogroup B is responsible for the recent outbreaks at Princeton University and The University of California, Santa Barbara. Bexsero, a meningitis B vaccine, was approved in 2013 in Europe, Australia and Canada. The FDA allowed Bexsero on an “Investigational New Drug Application” in an effort to control the outbreaks at these two U.S. universities.  I applaud their action, but what about the rest of the United States citizens?

A fellow mother and friend, Alicia Stillman from Michigan, who also lost her teenage daughter to meningococcal disease serogroup B, has started the Emily Stillman Foundation in loving memory of her 19-year-old daughter, Emily Stillman.

The Emily Stillman Foundation has organized the “Get Vaccinated Windsor Project” which will be taking place this Sunday May 18, 2014.  A bus will transport 50 U.S. participants (children and adults) from Michigan to Ontario, Canada in order to be protected from Meningitis B.  A Canadian doctor and his staff will administer the vaccine in Windsor after performing an exam and a full medical history on all participants.

For more information on the trip please see NBC's article.

The vaccines Menactra, Menomume, and Menveo protect against the A,C,W, and Y serogroups in the U.S.  Both of our daughters were vaccinated with Menactra, but unfortunately, this offered no protection from Meningitis B.

While the two girls were fully immunized according to the current vaccine recommendations, many others are not up-to-date, with the other meningitis vaccines available. According to a recent study shared in the Wall Street Journal, "Two in three mothers are not aware of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to prevent meningococcal meningitis infection, which include vaccinating children twice."

As National Meningitis Associations members, these mothers are committed to sharing their child's story so that other families have an opportunity to make informed decisions about immunization. They also want to help others gain a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and its potential consequences, in accordance with the NMA mission. NMA’s volunteers help carry out our mission by creating and conducting community awareness and education programs, including presentations, media outreach and other activities that reach families, students, community leaders and public health officials.

Instead of celebrating my daughter’s prom and high school graduation in 2012, I planned her funeral three days before she was to graduate from high school and buried her in her beautiful prom dress.  Kimberly Coffey was 17 years old and was to start the Nursing Program at a local college in New York to pursue her dream of being a pediatric nurse.

Patti Wukovits, RN, Nurses Who Vaccinate Member

Patti Wukovits has been a nurse for 8 years. She is a certified oncology nurse and a M.O.M. (Mom on Meningitis) with the National Meningitis Association.  Married with 4 children (one son, angel daughter Kim, a stepson and a stepdaughter).  Her mission is to spread awareness of meningococcal disease - to be the voice for her daughter Kim.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy International Nurses Day!

On Monday, May 12, a free webinar on the role of nurses in vaccination decision-making will be held in Paris to mark International Nurses DayThe line-up of speakers includes experts from the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation in the US; the Mother & Baby Clinic Group in South Africa; and Melody Butler of Nurses Who Vaccinate from the US

The International Council of Nurses in collaboration with Connecting Nurses is hosting a FREE live Webcast on Monday, May 12th at 9:30 AM CET (3am EDT) to talk about the “Nurses’ key role in prevention, education, and therapy."

A second Live Webcast will start at 3:00 PM (CET  9am EDT) about “The key role of nurses in vaccination decision-making."  Nurses Who Vaccinate founder, Melody Butler, is a keynote speaker in the second presentation, and will be discussing the organization she initiated, Nurses Who Vaccinate, The

CASE Method, and the role of nurses in social media. The webcast, will be broadcasted live internationally for nurses all over the world to view and ask questions. We am quite excited about this opportunity and would like to share this event with you. Tell them we sent you!

Access to the webcast in the different languages

EN :



Thursday, May 8, 2014

During this Nurses Week We Remember...

Today during National Nurses Week, we would like to remember the nurses who gave their all- to care and protect their patients- and the nurses who paid the ultimate price in service. We'll also provide important information for nurses to utilize to protect themselves and each other.

We remember Gail Sandidge, a nurse in the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Texas, who was killed November 26, 2013, after a fatal stabbing attack. Steve Altmiller, head of Good Shepherd Health Systems, said Sandidge had died trying to protect her patients. She was in the midst of caring for pre-surgical pediatric patients, when she confronted the killer. "Nurses are protectors by nature. And Gail, she fit that profile,” he said. "She was protecting her patients in an act of courage today, and in so doing, she lost her life."
Gail Sandidge & Patient

He also said Sandidge had worked with the hospital for close to 20 years and described her as "a huge Baylor fan, a mother, a grandmother, a healer, a trainer, a mentor, a nurturer." has put together a tribute to Mrs. Sandidge with pictures provided by her family. Among them include this photo, taken that very morning, of Nurse Gail and a patient she would later selflessly defend.

Haye dispensary showing
abandoned polio vaccine kits
We remember the many dedicated nurses and workers working endlessly to protect children from the threat of polio. Many have lost their lives in terrorists acts. Deaths had occurred as recent as last week, where three workers in Afghanistan were murdered and a nurse injured. The campaign of violence against the humanitarian workers has stretched to Pakistan, and threatens the polio vaccination initiatives. Nursingworld Nigeria powerfully states, "as we look back together, towards moving forward in the interest of the profession and nurses, we particularly call for an end to the state of insecurity that is sweeping through parts of the country threatening lives particularly nurses. We painfully remember  Jamila yusuf, whom was killed in the line of duty as a polio vaccinator on February 8, 2013 along with 10 other polio workers."

We remember the many nurses who have been injured while on duty. The two nurses in California, injured in April, stabbed as they were working.  The five nurses seriously at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital after a patient began kicking and punching staff as he wandered through corridors. The nurse who required brain surgery in February after being brutally attacked by a patient while on duty at a Brooklyn Hospital. The countless others who didn't make the headlines.

According to an article in the New York Times, "nursing ranks among the worst occupations in terms of work-related injuries." This week, and every week, be sure to spend time to take care of yourself. Nursing is a rewarding profession, but if you're not mentally or physically prepared, you may end up a patient yourself.

Information for Nurses to Protect Themselves

How nurses can care for themselves

Caring for Those Who Care: A Tribute to Nurses and Their Safety

Check out this important video, featured on, that takes a wholehearted look at why the most important thing for a nurse is to take care of him/herself first — a message that is vitally important as nurses spend their lives caring for others, often at the expense of their own emotional and physical health.

Health Promotion in Nurses: Is There a Healthy Nurse in the House?

How nurses can nourish themselves through shift work hours

Nurses Can Still Take Care of Self While Caring for Patients

Monday, May 5, 2014

It’s National Nurses Week 2014!

During National Nurses Week, Nurses Who Vaccinate would like to extend a special thanks to you, our nurses, as you continue to step forward in embracing new technologies, resolving emerging issues, and adapting to the changing roles in your profession. You deserve special recognition for your efforts in leading the way for your patients, your colleagues, and organizations within the health care industry.

From Tuesday May 6, 2014 until Monday May 12, 2014, the entire nation comes together to shed light on the importance, dedication, hardwork and passion which more than 3.1 million nurses bring to healthcare in America. Since 1954, The American Nurses Association (ANA) has hosted Nurse’s Week celebrations, choosing to end the week on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Nurse’s Week celebrations at hospitals often include free lunches, pampering sessions with massages and manicures, and educational opportunities for nurses to continually expand their knowledge base. The ANA posts an annual statement with suggestions on how nurses can choose to celebrate Nurse’s Week. The first item on their list is advocacy.

Nurses are empowered every day to advocate for their patients and their families, but during Nurse’s Week, we have a unique position in the national spotlight to spark conversation about important public health issues. One of the most important things we can do as nurses to support public health and honor the ANA initiative towards advocacy is to support vaccinations.

Vaccines are perhaps the single most important facet of public health as they prevent painful sickness and death for millions of people every day. As world travel increases, diseases which were once endemic in the far corners of the world can now land right in our backyards in a matter of days. Vaccines are not only important but are necessary in maintaining a healthy nation and a healthy world.

Being a member of Nurses Who Vaccinate is an important first step in supporting public health and vaccinations, but there are many more ways in which nurses can promote public health and wellness. Nurses who provide direct bedside care can support vaccinations and public health each and every day by talking to patients and their families about vaccines and explaining the importance of protecting ourselves and our loved ones. Student nurses, registered nurses and any supporters of healthcare can also get involved in public health initiatives by talking to local politicians and asking them to support any bills which promote vaccinations. Writing to a local newspaper and asking them to highlight the important role nurses play in public health by supporting vaccinations can educate the public on the important work nurses do each and every day in preventing public health outbreaks and promoting community health wellness.

Recognize that your role as a nurse isn’t just at the bedside, but that each and every one of us is a community health nurse responsible for the health of our nation! Support public health through vaccine promotion each and every day, but especially during Nurse’s Week!

Happy Nurse’s Week, nurses! Thank you for all of the important work you do!


Be sure to follow the International Council of Nurses for 2014 Live webcast: the key role of nurses in vaccination decision making, on May 12th with Nurses Who Vaccinate - hosted by Connecting Nurses.
Official link 

Angela Quinn is a registered nurse in New York City. She is passionate about public health, patient safety and patient education. Angela volunteers with organizations like Nurses who Vaccinate  to contribute positively to the world of nursing.