12:06 PM

How one Cook Children’s team is making a difference with flu vaccines

flu vaccine story

By Kaley Johnson 

Hannah Davis, PA., has only worked at Cook Children’s Medical Center-Fort Worth for four months, but she has already had an unprecedented impact on patients’ lives.

Over the last year, fewer patients have gotten the flu shot than in previous years, reflecting national statistics of more vaccine hesitancy among patients.

When Hannah started in her role as Endocrine Physician Assistant at the end of August, about 19% of patients in the Endocrine unit received the flu vaccine.

The department took action by having Hannah talk to patients about the vaccine specifically before they are discharged. She started to meet with patients who are eligible for the flu vaccine in mid-October.

When Hannah talks with patients, she said she meets them where they are. She listens to their concerns and does not try to scare them into getting the vaccine; instead, she focuses on empowering patients.

“So much of medicine is out of someone’s control, and the things you can do on your own to actively prevent any major illness or complication are often overlooked,” she said.

She compares the flu vaccine to a seat belt -- whether or not you get into a car crash might not always be in your control. But an extra safety measure can mean the outcome is less serious.

“I always tell patients, I am glad to meet you in the hospital, but I hope I never see you in the hospital again,” Hannah said. “Our goal is always to improve patient care.”

By the end of October, 78% of patients in the unit received the flu vaccine -- a 311% increase.

Hannah, who is extremely humble, emphasized that the results are a team effort. She lauded the nurses who also talk with patients and give the flu shots.

Emily Deiters, R.N., said Hannah “does a great job teeing us up for the flu shot,” by focusing on informed consent.

Bethany Robinson, R.N., said Hannah has made a huge impact with diabetic patients in particular, which is important since comorbidities can increase complications from the flu.

“That’s a good encouragement, not just hearing it from the nurses but hearing it from providers as well about the importance of it,” Bethany said.

“It is a group effort, but (Hannah) has made a big impact by mentioning it to patients at discharge,” Bethany said.

By focusing on education, empowerment and encouragement, Hannah has helped improve the lives of patients, likely for years to come.

Photo pictured: left to right

Bethany Robinson, RN

Hannah Davis, PA

Emily Deiters, RN

Helen Sweeney, RN