Protecting a community’s health through vaccinations
Sonya Mauzey, RN, BS, CIC
The Women’s Hospital - Deaconess Health System
Sonya Mauzey, RN, BS, CIC, has protected and improved the health of her facility’s patients, staff, and local community through passionate and informed advocacy for vaccination programs.
The Women’s Hospital (TWH), where Mauzey joined as the sole infection preventionist five years ago, is a 106-bed facility dedicated to the care of women and infants.
Within the first several months of arriving at TWH, Mauzey began advocating for postpartum patients to receive the Tdap vaccine prior to discharge. Armed with research and evidence, she approached hospital leadership and, according to the hospital’s director of patient safety and quality, “presented a case that could not be refused.” Despite the cost of providing Tdap vaccination, it is now protocol for postpartum patients at TWH.
Mauzey further extended Tdap protection by working with the hospital’s administrative council to make Tdap and seasonal influenza vaccinations a condition of employment. Employee influenza vaccine rates climbed from 56 to more than 97 percent.
In 2009, the H1N1 virus presented a new and deadly challenge, particularly for TWH’s population of pregnant women and infants. Mauzey relied on infection prevention best practices to spearhead prevention measures in her facility and community. She worked long hours to coordinate vaccination clinics with local health departments, physicians, and hospitals. While H1N1 vaccination was not mandatory for TWH employees due to availability concerns and anxiety about this new type of flu vaccine, Mauzey encouraged and empowered employees to make educated decisions through town hall and “Lunch and Learn” programs, resulting in an 80 percent voluntary staff vaccination rate.
Mauzey’s advocacy caught on: She has been asked to speak at multiple community programs and chair a community patient safety coalition promoting mandatory employee flu vaccines. “I try to identify activities that will have the biggest impact on everyone’s health,” said Mauzey. “Healthcare doesn’t just happen within the confines of our facilities. We protect our patients by protecting our communities.”