Excellence in Childhood Immunization Outcomes

April has been proclaimed Childhood Immunization Awareness Month in New Mexico to raise the awareness and the number of children fully immunized in the state. Even though New Mexico has been ranked 43rd in the nation for childhood immunizations, one clinic has proven to be effective in keeping their young patients up to date on their vaccinations according to the New Mexico Department of Health CASA audit.

The percentage of one and two year olds who get immunized at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing Practice Clinic at the Los Griegos Community Center is significantly higher than the state average which means they are less vulnerable for diseases like Hepatitis B and Polio.

Reasons for the great success contributed to several factors:

1.) Located in the neighborhood of patients it serves

2.) Mothers are followed for their pregnancy at the clinic before the birth of child and continue to bring the child after it is born

3.) There are multiple services under one roof

4.) The advance nurse practitioner-run facility has created an environment and a relationship with the patients in which they feel very comfortable;  the nurses are able to spend more time talking to the mothers to put emphasis on preventative health care for babies.The general family practice clinic has been running for five years and is open to everyone.

According to Jim Stapleton, family nurse practitioner, mothers will bring not only their first child to the clinic, but their second and third child. "This is very important because it helps to treat the whole family," Stapleton said.

Every two years the DOH produces a summary of childhood vaccination rates. The sample taken at the UNM College of Nursing Practice Clinic was from more than one hundred patient charts. The clinic was just slightly below or above national benchmark levels for all immunization rates.

The UNM College of Nursing provides nursing education, research, service and leadership in nursing for the state and nation. With baccalaureate and master's level education and web-based programs in such areas as acute care, midwifery and community health, the college focuses on asking and answering the most difficult questions about nursing care and how nurses can design and manage health care delivery to meets the needs of the state. 

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322

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