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Lawton Indian Hospital, Oklahoma

Lawton Indian Hospital, Oklahoma, Employee Vaccination Campaign: Bee Wise, Immunize

As of early November 2013, USPHS Lawton Service Unit had achieved a 96% employee flu vaccination rate. BEE WISE…Immunize! became Lawton Indian Hospital’s 2013 campaign slogan in our effort to break previous records for employee flu vaccinations: 90% in 2011 and 92% in 2012. The Lawton Service Unit encompasses ten counties in the southwestern corner of Oklahoma, where 25,000 members of the Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Fort Sill Apache, Kiowa, Apache, and Wichita tribes are concentrated.

This year, we realized that there was not an organized flu plan in place for employees of the USPHS Lawton Service Unit. With the support of hospital administration, we drafted a policy that mandated flu vaccinations (with exceptions for those with egg allergies or an expressed religious exemption). The policy was approved by the Infection Prevention Committee and forwarded to the Medical Staff Committee for final approval.

CEO, Dr. Greg Ketcher, being vaccinated.

During the hospital’s General Staff Meeting, we provided education on the H1N1 epidemic of 2009, which took more lives in the Indian population than any other culture. That was a wake-up call! Education continued at the mandatory Annual Education Event, with Dr. Ketcher, CEO, stepping up to the plate to support the initiative by receiving his flu shot. Also this year the email system was used to keep people aware of the organization’s flu goals, flu statistics on annual illness and death, and general information on flu prevention. The October Infection Prevention Newsletter was dedicated to information about flu, pregnancy and the flu, cold versus flu, and recommendations for influenza vaccines.

Flu cart and operating room nurses, Teri Bartosovsky and Shelli Henry.

We added to our arsenal this flu season when the Operating Room nurses implemented a traveling flu cart. The main goal of the flu cart was to immunize employees as it moved throughout the hospital. In an effort to vaccinate patients, the flu cart was also set up the in the main lobby of the hospital to vaccinate anyone over the age of four years old. After firing up a popcorn machine, the smell of freshly-popped popcorn filled the lobby and helped attract people to the cart, where nurses provided education and a quick flu shot. With lots of positive feedback, we plan to bring back the flu cart and popcorn machine every flu season.

For more information, contact Barbara Derrico RN ICP at 580-354-5454 or

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