Junior doctor investigates attitudes towards flu vaccination among Concord Hospital’s geriatric medicine staff
Concord Hospital junior doctor Sarah Younan couldn’t quite work out why the uptake of the flu vaccination was lower than she expected among her colleagues in the Department of Geriatric Medicine.
Her clinical co-workers and other healthcare staff were offered free vaccination as part of Sydney Local Health District’s annual winter preparedness strategy, but some people chose not to get a shot.
With assistance from Concord Hospital’s Head of Geriatric Medicine, Dr John Cullen, Dr Younan decided to investigate the attitudes towards vaccination of clinical and administrative staff working on the geriatric wards at Concord.
“I conducted an audit survey on paper and email because the nature of shift work for nursing staff meant I couldn’t easily grab responses from everyone,” Dr Younan, a resident medical officer, said.
Her research project was met with enthusiasm from staff across the board.
“The doctors, allied health, nursing and administration staff were very receptive and the nursing unit managers also assisted in my research,” she said.
Dr Younan presented her results to the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Team at Concord. She found the majority of staff were in favour of compulsory vaccination programs.
There was a major increase in the rate of flu vaccination among respondents from 2017 to 2018, suggesting the message about the importance of flu vaccination among healthcare workers had begun to get through.
This year the Geriatric Medicine wards at Concord Hospital have been reclassified as Category A High Risk, meaning influenza vaccination is mandatory for all staff working in these wards.
Any staff member who is not vaccinated and is required to interact with patients in a high risk clinical area must wear a fluid-resistant surgical mask at all times or may be re-deployed to other lower-risk areas during flu season.
Dr Younan’s research, titled “Attitudes to influenza vaccination among geriatric medicine inpatient staff”, was accepted for presentation at the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine’s conference in Adelaide on Tuesday May 14.
Influenza vaccination each year before winter arrives is the best way to prevent influenza. For more information, see https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/resources.aspx