The lack of vaccination for healthcare workers is viewed as one of the causes of spreading the influenza virus in states where guidelines regarding mandatory vaccination are not followed strictly. The topic selected for this Capstone project is the role of mandatory influenza vaccination for healthcare workers in preventing the spread of the influenza virus among patients. The PICOT question is the following one: During the peak flu season, does mandatory influenza vaccination for employees, compared to no vaccination, help prevent the spread of the virus to patients with whom they contact? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the selected topic and problem that guide the project.
Referring to the topic selected for the project, the problem is that, despite the provided guidelines regarding mandatory influenza vaccination for healthcare professionals, many medical workers still refuse to participate in vaccination while causing risks of spreading the virus among patients. According to Ahmed, Lindley, Allred, Weinbaum, and Grohskopf (2013), the threats of morbidity and mortality because of influenza to healthcare workers and patients are high.
However, Dare and Talbot (2016) note that the problem is that many physicians and nurses ignore vaccination because of the lack of education regarding the issue. From this point, the context in which it is possible to observe the problem is associated with healthcare professionals’ refusal to take the vaccine and administrators’ impossibility to follow the guidelines regarding mandatory vaccination in any facility.
Focusing on the details of the problem, it is important to note that, despite policies on mandatory vaccination for healthcare employees, the vaccination rate is only about 45% (Awali et al., 2014). Physicians and nurses reject vaccination because of developed misconceptions and stereotypes regarding vaccines caused by the lack of knowledge in this area (Johnson & Talbot, 2011). As a result, risks for healthcare professionals and patients increase.
Furthermore, some healthcare workers have problems with receiving the vaccine because of weaknesses in the procedure organization (Couto et al., 2012). Still, the lack of a solution to this problem leads to impossibilities to prevent the spread of influenza among patients during the flu season.
Thus, the impact of the problem on healthcare facilities’ environments and the quality of care delivered to patients is significant. In those facilities where the healthcare personnel does not participate in vaccination, patients are at risk of having complications because of the virus, and the shortage of staff can be observed during the flu season peak (Huynh, Poduska, Mallozzi, & Culler, 2012).
Even being asymptomatic, healthcare workers can provoke diseases of many patients in a facility (Pitts, Maruthur, Millar, Perl, & Segal, 2014). Therefore, the significance of this problem should be taken into consideration as vulnerable patients develop complications of influenza often than other people. Nurses usually have multiple contacts with patients, and their rejecting to participate in vaccination can cause negative patient outcomes.
The possible solution to the discussed problem is the adoption of mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers in all states of the country and healthcare facilities. Vaccination is a critical infection control measure, and its effectiveness is ranged from 70% to about 90% (Deonandan, Al-Sulaiti, Gajaria, & Suh, 2012). It is important to prevent the person-to-person transmission of the virus in facilities with the help of this procedure (Pitts et al., 2014). Therefore, it is necessary to compare patient outcomes for facilities where workers receive vaccines and reject vaccination.
It is possible to conclude that the selected topic requires further research. The identified problem is urgent and needs an effective solution. The research on the selected topic should be guided by the formulated PICOT question.
Ahmed, F., Lindley, M. C., Allred, N., Weinbaum, C. M., & Grohskopf, L. (2013). Effect of influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel on morbidity and mortality among patients: Systematic review and grading of evidence. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 58(1), 50-57. Web.
Awali, R. A., Samuel, P. S., Marwaha, B., Ahmad, N., Gupta, P., Kumar, V.,… Kaplan, C. (2014). Understanding health care personnel’s attitudes toward mandatory influenza vaccination. American Journal of Infection Control, 42(6), 649-652. Web.
Couto, C. R., Pannuti, C. S., Paz Jr, J. P., Fink, M. C., Machado, A. A., de Marchi, M., & Machado, C. M. (2012). Fighting misconceptions to improve compliance with influenza vaccination among health care workers: An educational project. PloS One, 7(2), 1-6. Web.
Dare, R. K., & Talbot, T. R. (2016). Health care-acquired viral respiratory diseases. Infectious Disease Clinics, 30(4), 1053-1070. Web.
Deonandan, R., Al-Sulaiti, G., Gajaria, A., & Suh, K. N. (2012). Factors associated with staff and physician influenza immunization at a children’s hospital in Ontario, Canada. International Journal of General Medicine, 5(1), 719-724. Web.
Huynh, S., Poduska, P., Mallozzi, T., & Culler, F. (2012). Mandatory influenza vaccination of health care workers: A first-year success implementation by a community health care system. American Journal of Infection Control, 40(8), 771-773. Web.
Johnson, J. G., & Talbot, T. R. (2011). New approaches for influenza vaccination of healthcare workers. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 24(4), 363-369. Web.
Pitts, S. I., Maruthur, N. M., Millar, K. R., Perl, T. M., & Segal, J. (2014). A systematic review of mandatory influenza vaccination in healthcare personnel. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47(3), 330-340. Web.