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Nursing trio protects patients, and the community, one vaccine at a time

Thursday, December 19, 2019
By Mary Kate Llamas
Lynn Oeser, Terri Meliones, Vanessa Gordon

Lynn Oeser, RNTerri Meliones, RN, and Vanessa Gordon, RN, at Duke Health Children's Primary Care Roxboro Street, are improving the quality of care and health of their patients. By educating families on the importance of protecting children against vaccine preventable diseases, they've helped fully vaccinate 91% of patients in their clinic.​

The nursing trio noticed an opportunity for improvement during the measles outbreak last year. 

“We found that the measles outbreak helped encourage some parents to bring their children in for the needed vaccination," said Oeser. “So, we thought we could use the awareness of the outbreak in a positive way to stress the importance of protecting children and the entire community against all vaccine preventable diseases."

The team compiled a list of their patients ages 15 months to five years who hadn't had their first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine. They divided up the list and began calling families to schedule appointments for their children to receive the vaccination. Next, they contacted the families of older children who hadn't received the second series of the vaccination. 

Oeser, Meliones and Gordon also encouraged the entire clinic care team to speak with families during regular office visits to encourage vaccination for all preventable diseases. The team now takes every opportunity to talk with families about vaccinations. 

“When a parent calls, even if it's just a question about diaper rash, I look up the patient's medical history and see if they are up to date on their vaccines," said Oeser. “If they are behind, I explain how important vaccinations are and offer to schedule them an appointment."

The team's efforts have garnered dramatic results. When they first began the project last April, 78.66% of their patients were fully vaccinated. Currently, 91% of their patients are fully vaccinated. 

“Our success is a direct result of the hard work that our team does on a daily basis," said Meliones. “The more children we vaccinate, the safer our community will be from vaccine preventable diseases like measles."