As a nurse I am ALWAYS given opportunities to educate people on various things. Note I say educate, not give medical advice because that is totally out of my scope of practice and I need my job to pay my bills.
The board doesn’t look kindly on nurses acting as doctors. (Cue obligatory disclaimer: This piece is not meant to be medical advice. You should always seek treatment/answers/advice from your healthcare professional if you have any questions regarding ANYTHING medical related…or something like that. This piece is my OPINION.)
One of the best things is that there are two sides to every story. Or every opinion. That’s great and all but I think what bothers me the most is when a nurse, health care professional, expert in any field actually, spews out information without citing facts or theory to back things up and still calls it FACT. It’s not a fact…it’s your opinion. Honestly, how many nurses that are reading this, or lawyers, or doctors or IT people here get pounded with questions regarding your field of expertise on a daily basis? I see everyone’s hands up. These people, whether family or friends or complete strangers LISTEN to you. Here’s a conversation I had just today:
Friend: What do you tell your patients in the hospital when they’ve just had back surgery and they refuse to get out of bed for physical therapy.
Me: Get up! Moving around is good the sooner the better!
Friend: That’s what I thought! I’m going to get onto my husband right now!
No! There might be a reason he doesn’t feel like getting up. Something may be wrong. Does his doctor know this? Is he on pain meds to help? NO!
Ok so now that I’ve pointed out the obvious, that people listen to our advice, I’ll move on to my recent pet peeve that a nursing colleague hit on. The dreaded “to-vaccinate for the flu or not-to vaccinate” conversation. <Groan> I know.
She posted a link to a media outlet piece, which first off is going to be biased. CNN to be exact. I’m sure FOX has its own take on the debate, but anyway because it read: CDC: Flu shot less effective this year because current flu virus has mutated. If it’s from the CDC then it’s gospel right? Maybe. I’m pretty sure though it’s not completely factual because CNN picked up the story and “mutated” the CDC’s information into what their consumers wanted to hear.
Nurse K posted her own tidbit above the link: “I don’t get the flu shot. I don’t understand with all the strains and mutations how they can effectively say that whichever one they pick for the shot is the one that will be going around this season. It. Does. Not. Make. Sense.”
So that’s her opinion. Great! Please though…tell us why It. Does. Not. Make. Sense. Enlighten your fans on Facebook why they shouldn’t be vaccinated for influenza this year. What in this article made you feel this way? (By the way, I don’t think she or anyone else for that matter actually read the article because of a comment she posted amongst everyone’s usual, “OHHHH we don’t get the flu shot EVER because we get the flu from it EVERY single time.” (If you don’t ever get the shot then how are you getting the flu from it every single time? Hmmm…anyway.)
Nurse K: “There are at least 6 strains of the flu and the vaccinations don’t include them all. I’m all for vaccines (small pox, mmr, etc) as these don’t change. I don’t understand the logic behind guessing which strain might be out this year so let’s do the vaccine for that one. It has never made sense to me. I haven’t gotten sick with or without it so that’s not my issue. Mine is putting unnecessary chemicals into my body. I would rather keep my immune system healthy and then boost it with vitamin C, fruits, veggies, broth and lots of water.”
So let’s break this comment down:
1. First of all there are 4 influenza strains this year that are prevalent. Not 6. So no. The vaccine doesn’t cover all 6.
2. The CDC doesn’t GUESS which influenza strain to make a vaccine for. (I can picture men in business suits sitting around a conference table with a hat full of slips with random influenza strains written on them. “And the winner this year is: A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)! Congrats Bob! Your strain won!” )
It’s actually a very long drawn out process. There are 141 influenza centers in 111 countries and they all share data on which strains are circulating and are the most common. This is basically how the strains that are put into each unique vaccine every year is determined. (I’ve shared the link to the CDC’s flu information if you really want to read technical stuff) So no guessing there.
3. It hasn’t made sense to you because you don’t know your facts.
4. You don’t like putting unnecessary chemicals in your body, which I’m assuming you mean thimerosal and formaldehyde, that may be in the flu vaccine, yet you’re all for the childhood immunizations? You feel better about putting those chemicals you abhor into your children but not the flu vaccine. No ma’am you won’t do that to your body! (Btw…I’m all for childhood immunizations as well. And there is a GREAT blog piece someone wrote on the actual chemicals she’s speaking of but I can’t find it right now. I’ll share when I do.)
The CNN piece itself doesn’t even contain factual information!
So basically what’s she doing is promoting non-vaccination which is perfectly fine. There is always going to be a pro and con person for everything in life. Which is great. The problem is she isn’t backing up her promotion in the correct way.
(Btw…here’s my response to her post: “I’ve gotten the flu vaccine for the past ten years every year without fail. So has my 17-year-old son. Never have gotten sick, certainly have not gotten the flu from it. I’m 36 and have had the influenza virus once when I was in High School. The vaccine is an inactive virus. Usually the reason for getting sick, not the flu, but general feeling of malaise, fatigue, illness in general, is because A) You were already incubated with a viral/bacterial infection and it just happened to pop up at the same time, or more likely B) Your body is reacting to the vaccine by creating antibodies therefore making you feel like crap for a day or two. I’m in no way saying that people do not have allergic reactions to the vaccine. Guillain-B IS a severe complication that occurs very rarely. Personally I think the vaccine, especially for health care workers is a good thing if you have not had an allergic reaction to it in the past or are not allergic to eggs/poultry products. No vaccine is foolproof and there is no way the labs will ever be able to cover ALL the different types of influenza strains. Also no the CDC is not saying the vaccine this year does not work. They are saying that it doesn’t cover all the strains they tested it on in the beginning. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help protect against some. Believe me, the flu doesn’t play. It will put you out for weeks. Just my two cents worth as a former immunization nurse.”
Yes, because I could have gone on and on commenting on her post backing up MY reasons that you should be vaccinated, plus I DO work with her and need to keep a somewhat professional approach with her, I went with my standard response to everyone that claims they get the flu every year from the vaccine and that’s why they don’t get the vaccine. I feel like I may be repeating myself here.
I really needed to get this out. The point is this. If you are going to suggest to people as a healthcare worker, that they not get vaccinated because of blah blah blah reasons…support those reasons. Don’t just make stuff up or pull it from your ass. Give your peeps some links to good and reliable information they can read to make their own mind up with. Unfortunately people rely on us professionals, whatever our specialty is, a lot more than we think.
( The link she shared: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/health/flu-vaccine-mutated-virus/)