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Nurses teach doctors how to deal with fears and myths about vaccines

NEW YORK – It's late Tuesday evening during the worst measles outbreak in decades, and doctors, nurses, and other health care providers are gathered in a medical center to learn how to better talk to parents who can not get vaccinated Children.

Blima Marcus, an oncology nurse, leads the two-hour session on how to better address and answer questions from parents while strengthening their confidence. The key, she says, is to answer people's questions about the science behind vaccines and address them directly.

To refute the false claim that childhood illnesses strengthen the immune system, doctors could explain the immune system No muscle getting stronger through exercise. "It's not a good idea to deliberately expose your children to illness, any more than you would break your leg because you think it will grow more," she told the group at the Ezra Medical Center in Brooklyn's Borough Park district.

] Marcus, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, helped form a volunteer group of health professionals this year to counter the reluctant vaccine and misinformation that blamed officials for the measles outbreak currently In his tenth month, the Orthodox Jews mainly ill in Brooklyn. Her group, the Vaccine Task Force, has written and distributed thousands of pamphlets to parents to counter fears and myths spread by anti-vaccine groups that have turned against the community.

Now Teaching Them and Other Nurses Doctors themselves are considering how to respond to such concerns respectfully and effectively.

Health officials in New York and across the country are increasingly trying to develop new strategies to spread accurate information about vaccines. They rely more on community groups than government agencies in recognition of widespread distrust of science and government.

"We think that if we speak louder, people will just accept it," he told Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a London-based global health foundation. "We need to work for science and understand why people question that."

Another recently formed group, the Jewish Orthodox Women's Medical Association, maintains a confidential hotline that families can call to request private vaccinations at home. Their children can be protected from measles without this being anti-viral. Vaccination activists could be disapproved.

In Portland, Oregon, where vaccination is strong, Boost Oregon, a non-profit organization, runs free workshops on vaccinations for new and expectant parents. The workshops, which are held by doctors, often take two hours or more, so that the parents can answer all their questions. The organization also offers seminars for doctors, nurses, midwives, naturopaths and others to address patients' misconceptions about vaccinations.

A recent global study conducted by Wellcome Trust on public health and science conducted by Gallup World Poll found that more than 8 out of 1

0 people trust health care professionals and that the most trusted source of health advice is a physician or health care professional a nurse is.

Especially nurses can play a crucial role.

"We are the first and last person to see a patient before making a final decision," said Melody Butler, an infection specialist at Good Samaritan Hospital on Long Island, who also heads a group called Nurses Who Vaccinate.

In New York, the inability to fully commit the Orthodox community to vaccination was "a lesson for us," New York's Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot recently said at a NYU Langone Table Hospital discussion. Given the church's distrust of the government, Jewish organizations are critical to providing information. "Public health does not always have to be the messenger," Barbot said.

At the recent Brooklyn meeting, Marcus reviewed the most common misinformation spread by anti-vaccine activists. Her lecture was concise and full of practical tips: Doctors can show parents how they find reputable online trials. Here are answers to 13 common concerns about vaccines, from ingredients to side effects.

When patients are concerned about the ingredients of the vaccine, Marcus told vendors eating pizza and potato chips in the snack that, for example, aluminum hydroxide is used to improve the immune response and make the vaccine more effective. Half of the aluminum in a vaccine clears the body within 15 minutes and 99% gets excreted within two days, she said. Studies have found no correlation between infants receiving aluminum-containing vaccines and cognitive development.

In addition, certain foods contained natural chemicals that are toxic to humans. Pears have more formaldehyde than vaccines, she said. However, the chemicals are present in very small amounts, well below the harmful dose.

To refute misinformation about vaccines, which link an increase in chronic childhood illnesses with the increase in required childhood vaccinations, physicians can explain that correlation is not a cause. She pulled up a slide showing a decline in divorce rates in Maine, which corresponded to a decline in per capita consumption of margarine. That does not mean there's a relationship between the two, she said, giggling.

She also presented leaflets with dozens of evidence-based studies that underpinned her points.

"Patients are constantly being told that vaccines are safe, but nobody has ever shown them the trials," she said in an interview after the meeting. "Well, here they are, with clues, results, population sizes."

The measles outbreak has slowed down in New York and across the country, but officials are worried about the possibility of further dispersal in summer camps while traveling to Europe, and other regions have had measles outbreaks and school starts in the fall.

In New York, the religious exemption from compulsory vaccination for schoolchildren was eliminated last month, and Marcus expects to receive requests for further workshops for parents and health care providers. She hopes parents will accept information sooner. "Now they know they have to vaccinate, they come to really learn and not challenge you," she said.

The pediatrician Jeffrey Teitelbaum, director of the medical center, was among the participants of the meeting. The center is visited about 70,000 times a year. 55-year-old Teitelbaum has about 2,000 patients. Over the years, he faced parents who were reluctant to vaccinate their children.

But this time he noticed a big difference.

In recent years, parents were embarrassed when they said they wanted to postpone or avoid the shots. Now they are defiant.

"You are questioning the trust of the government and the medical establishment, it is much more difficult to overcome," he said in an interview. In addition, providers are often asked to provide proof of their referrals to patients.

Alisa Minkin, a Long Island pediatrician attending the meeting, said it was virtually impossible for physicians to have all the details at hand to be able to "anti-vax lore" and be able to get on a 15 -minimal visit to refute points with patients.

Teitelbaum said the tips, such as those about chemicals in pears, have come in handy and have been causing a giggle of patients. Most patients are vaccinated, he said, but for the very few who "do not accept my word," it would be useful to have other means of information communication.

In a time when many patients decide According to Teitelbaum, due to insurance coverage, there is often a lack of time to build a deep doctor-patient relationship. The topics of Marcus & # 39; group can help doctors maintain a relationship with patients. The hope, he said, is to build on "having the ability to vaccinate in the future."

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