In the Past, a Number of Serious Childhood Diseases Reached Epidemic Proportions

In the Past, a Number of Serious Childhood Diseases Reached Epidemic Proportions


Child Immunization

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of Nursing 3020 A



Penni Wilson, RN, BN

University of Lethbridge

October 20, 2009

Since vaccines have been introduced within the last 50 years, numerous amounts of children have dramatically decreased their chances of contracting serious disease that sometimes would have left them with lasting physical and mental problems (World Health Organization, 2009). Vaccinating children is one of the best and most important public health interventions available to protect them against dangerous diseases (World Health Organization, 2009). Throughout this paper, it will discuss the community health issue of child vaccination, and the benefits and misconceptions associated. It will also tie in the role of the community health nurse, the impact of immunization within the community, as well as the importance of a vaccination public policy.
From the time when vaccines were first discovered in the 1800s, the number of serious childhood diseases, such as polio, measles, and rubella has dramatically declined andnearlybeen eliminated when it comes to childhood diseases (Ball & Binder, 2006). The development of these vaccines have improved and saved the lives of many children across Canadaand the world (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009). The role of vaccination has a much greater benefits than the risks that are associated with immunization. By not having children immunized it leaves them vulnerable to diseases, such USE DIFFERENT DISEASESas measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough (TECHNICAL TERM) which can then lead to pneumonia, choking, brain damage, paralysis and sometimes even death (World Health Organization, 2009). Having children vaccinated is one of the best and safest ways to protect them from such serious illnesses (Ball & Binder, 2006).

Immunization Misconceptions and Truths

There are many misconceptions when it comes to immunizing children and the safety of vaccines. An increasing number of parents worry about vaccinating their children because they believe the vaccines are not safe and will cause a severe reaction or side effect (Ball & Binder, 2006). Community health nurses have an important role in ensuring parents and communities are aware of the safety of vaccines (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006). However, according to the Public Agency of Canada (2009), vaccines have been proven safe, and have a huge benefit towards maintaining children’s health throughout their lifetime. Having a serious side effect from a vaccine is very rare, occurring in less than one in a million (Public Agency of Canada, 2009). If there is a side effect, it is usually mild and short-term, such as site redness, mild fever or sore arm from the needle insertion (Offit & Bell, 2003). Vaccines in Canada are effective and safer than the diseases they prevent, such as diphtheria, pertussis, measles and mumps (Pubic Health Agency of Canada, 2009). Getting children immunized is the best way to protect and prevent them from contracting these serious illnesses (Ball & Binder, 2006). The vaccines that are given to children all through Canada, are monitored and tested continually by researchers and scientists and are considered safe and effective to use (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).
Some parents believe that vaccines are actually not effective in protecting their children (Ball & Binder, 2006). Parents have mixed feelings when it comes to immunization and not all are completely convinced that immunizations are effective (Tarrant & Gregory, 2009). No vaccine is completely 100% effective, but children who do not get immunized remain vulnerable to these diseases and have a much higher rateof becoming infected, compared to those children who get protected by immunization (Ball & Binder, 2006). However, even with some parents being skeptical of the effectiveness of vaccines, there is still a majority of parents who believe that getting their child vaccinated is an important part of preventing disease and illness (Tarrant & Gregory, 2009). Research shows they are effective at dramatically decreasingthe rate of infection, andhealth care professionals recommend children get protected by immunization to limit their chances of becoming sick (Offit & Bell, 2003).
Even though the majority of parents think vaccines are effective (Tarrant & Gregory, 2009) and research shows a dramatic decline in the number of cases of such diseases (Offit & Bell, 2003), parents still have questions regarding immunization and the risks associated (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009). They worry these vaccines could potentially cause health problems to their child, such as sudden infant death syndrome or autism (Ball & Binder, 2006). Because of these worries, medical research committees, and health scientists across the world have investigated and put in a rigorous amount of time and research monitoring and investigating reports of the serious effects of vaccines. They concluded there is no evidencebetween vaccination and the link to autism or other illnesses (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).
The mistaken beliefs parents have towards immunizing their child comes from (many sources like, )the amount of information available online and through the media. Community health nurses see the importance of providing parents with trustworthy information about immunization and providing education to parents and the community about the benefits, possible side effects, and any misconceptions they may have in regards to immunizing their child (Bell & Binder, 2006). It is the community health nurses goal toimprove the health by “promoting, preserving and protecting the health of the individual, families, aggregates, and population” (Stamler & Yui, 2008, p 176).

Roles of the Community Health Nurse

Community health nursesare registered nurses who promote the health of the whole population ranging from individuals, families and communities(Stamler & Yui, 2008). They practice in a wide variety of settings such as, homes, schools, and health centers with in the community (Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice, 2008). Because they are widely diverse, they need to have a solid foundation of skills and knowledge when working with clients about their health care needs. “Nurses are responsible for the maintenance of professional nursing standards and of public health standards by being accountable for the quality of their own practice, striving for excellence, ensuring that their knowledge is current and taking advantage of opportunities for life long learning” (Potter & Perry, 2006,p 60). Nurses acknowledge the value of diversity, social conditions, individual experience, and the importance of building capacity through health care to promote a healthier change. The Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice (2008) recognizes five different standards for nurses working with clients: promoting health, building individual/community capacity, building relationships, facilitating access and equity, and demonstrating professional responsibility and accountability. These five standards are used through out the nurse’s career as she/he takes on a variety of different rolesto promote health within the community (Stamler & Yui, 2008).
Promoting Health
Community health nurses work by providing direct care to their client and family, as well as provides different services to promotehealth and prevent illness and disease(Potter & Perry, 2006). Nurses want to promote health by assessing and come up with (different word) …different goals and strategies which will results in the greatest possible health outcome for the individual/family or community. In many communities, nurses provide services such as, immunization clinics which involve educating parents/communities about the benefits, possible side effects, and address any misconceptions in order to promote the use of immunizations within the community (Bell & Binder, 2006).
Building Individual Capacity

Building capacity according to the Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice (2008) is the “process of actively involving individuals, groups, organizations and communities in all phases of planned change for the purpose of increasing their skills, knowledge and willingness to take action on their own future” (p 13). Community health nurses see the importance of acting as an educator to the parents in order to provide them with trustworthy information about immunization so any misconceptions or questions can be address.
In order to provide the parents with the resources and answers they need, the nurse must have a large knowledge base to inform and support themwhen making decision about their child’s health (Potter & Perry, 2006). The nurse takes on a teaching role to promote the decision making process, and to encourage their client/family to become as independent as possible. They tap into available resources within the surrounding area which then builds capacity for the client and family to function independently (Potter & Perry, 2006).
Building relationships

The community health nurse sees the importance of building relationships with the child and parents to promote the best environment to address any needs or concerns they may have pertaining to vaccinating their child (Stamler & Yui, 2008). The nurse takes on the role of a consultant and counselor and uses encouraging and empowering approaches to form a mutual relationship and assist parents to become actively involved in the health of their child (Potter & Perry, 2006).
Community health nurses are also seen as a community developer and collaborator. They believe in educating and supporting parents and community to help them to make the best decisions possible for the health of the children (Potter & Perry, 2006). By providing support, guidance and encouragement in the decision making process, nurses build a strong relationship, encourage participation, and promote their clients and families to take action, which in turn, builds individual and community capacity amongclients (Stamler & Yui, 2008). This can lead to developing easier access and equity to available healthcare among all clients within the community (Potter & Perry, 2006).
Facilitating Access and Equity
The community health nurse acts as a coordinator and a facilitator helping the child and family to access all the resources they need in order to make the best decisionsregarding their health (Stamler & Yui, 2008).Nurses utilize a number of different resources, coordinate and organize activities, and come up with many strategies to promote change and ensure that everyone is provided with appropriate and readily available health care, such as the young,old, poor, homeless and uneducated in a means that fits their lifestyle, for instance education clinics, home care, or outreach programs (Stamler & Yui, 2008). By coordinating and executing these resources, community health nurses need to be highly independent and be able to take action when it comes to the health of their clients to ensure they refer and implement all the appropriate resources available (Stamler & Yui, 2008).
Demonstrating Professional Responsibility and Accountability
Community health nurses must be accountable for their actions in regards to confidentiality, professional boundaries, and following the Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice (2008) and ethical guidelines in order to ensure they provide the best health care for their clients (Stamler & Yui, 2008). They need to be able to demonstrate accountability and follow policies and procedures which have been developed to provide the best care possible for their patients. Not only do they need to adhere to these policies, but they also need to be actively involved in recognizing the need for different policies and programs to be developed or modified if they are not working for the child, family, community or nurse. Nurses must be able to take on the role of a policy formulator and be able to identifythe need for change or modification when it comes to policies (Potter & Perry, 2006).
The community health nurse takes on a variety of different responsibilities in an effort to meet their client’s health care needs. By incorporatingthe Canadian Community Health Nursing Standards of Practice (2008) and demonstrating a variety of different roles such as, service provider, educator, facilitator, coordinator, community developer and policy formulator the community health nurse is able to ensure they are addressing theindividual, family, and community needs in regards to child immunization (Potter & Perry, 2006).

Impact on the Community

Immunization is an important way to ensure individuals within the community are protected from disease (Potter & Perry, 2006). Children who do not get immunized present a greater risk of contracting illnesses, as well as increase the risk of transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases to other people within the community (Stamler & Yui, 2008). This causes a threat to not only the people close to them, such as their families, but has an impact on the immunity of the whole community. By having children immunized, it protects individuals from these vaccine-preventable diseases and is seen by many health care professionals as an important way to increase the immunity throughout the whole community (Potter & Perry, 2006).

The community health nurse can make the community more compliant to child immunization by empowering and educating them with appropriate information and resources that will enable them to see the positives associated with immunization. By using a variety of different strategies the nurse can impact the community by decreasing the spread of infection and increase their knowledge base and independence (Diem & Moyer, 2005).

There is a variety of strategies that community health nurses use to get the community on board with child immunization. The nurse can prepare mass communication activities; this brings together and involves large numbers of people within the community (Diem & Moyer, 2005). The nurse can create a simple poster, newsletter, pamphlet or fact sheet that explains the benefits, misconceptions, and possible side effects that parents have concerns about. Using mass communication activities, community health nurses are able to reach a larger group of people and promote health about various topics the community may be interested in or have concerns about (Diem & Moyer, 2005).

The nurse can also get community acceptance about child immunization by bringing in a variety of educational activities. This can range from formal to informal courses, workshops, discussions or speeches that will inform and get the community involved in how to improve the immunity of the whole community (Diem & Moyer, 2005). By educating and supporting the community, the nurse is able to lay down a knowledge base to help them develop an understanding of why immunizing children is a safe and important way to protection the whole community.

By using a wide variety of strategies, the nurse is able to make an impact on the community and allow them to take control and improve the health of the whole population (Diem & Moyer, 2005). By involving the community and working together, the nurse is able to support and guide them to resolve their issues resulting in community capacity building (Diem & Moyer, 2005). Promoting community building leads to an increase in social capacity, collaboration, solve problems and develop strong relationships and ties in order for the community to achieve their health goals in regards to child immunization.


Public Policies are put in place for community health nurses and health care professionals to follow regarding immunization are put into place to have continuously updated and essential information, guidelines and recommendations for the use and of vaccines available for them.

Consistency between all health care professionals in regards to child immunization.

Theseguidelines and policies are intended for all health care professionals to follow

The Immunization Competencies for Health Professionals (Public Agency of Canada, 2008) and Canadian Immunization Guide (Public Agency of Canada, 2006)is intended to promote safe and competent guiding principles when it comes to immunization and to achieve the highest vaccine coverage rate possible. In order to gain the greatest community protection against vaccine preventable diseases, healthprofessionals and community health nurses need to enable and maintain their competent practices with essential knowledge and guidelines related to child immunization (Public Agency of Canada, 2008).

The results of many vaccines results in a benefit to the population’s health and help save costs on medical care. The funding of publicly funded vaccine programs greatly improved the health of people and children and resulted in a large economic savings because of the reduced cost of hospital care needed.

It is important that the vaccine researchers and policy makers assessed vaccines carefully, and work together to maximize the greatest benefit and least cost to society.

provide updated information and recommendations on the

use of vaccines in Canada.


providers must advocate for the continuation of successful programs.

In the past, a number of serious childhood diseases reached epidemic proportions.Claiming thousands of lives and often leaving children with lasting mental or physical problems.

Since vaccines have been developed and introduced, they have saved more babies and children’s lives than any other medical intervention in the last 50 years (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).