Kicking off the news for nurses this week on the Nursing Show is a look at how healthcare professionals talk about the HPV vaccine with the patients for whom it is recommended. It raises questions about what we can do a better job of when talking with parents of teens and pre-teens.
HPV and HBV Vaccines Prevent Cancer
We know that the HPV vaccine is doing its job when it is being used. It prevents most of the HPV cases and thus prevents future cases of cervical cancer, too. But most physicians and other health care professionals are not talking about this reason for vaccination. The numbers are pretty abysmal. Only about 7% of the doctors in the survey article I read recommended HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines specifically because they are cancer preventative.
Because of this the Prevent Cancer Foundation is putting together a campaign to “Think About The Link” where they promote the link between these vaccines and the prevention of future cancer cases. More than half of U.S. adults were unaware of the link between HPV and cervical cancer and that the vaccine could prevent specific cancers if given before sexual activity begins during puberty. Similar numbers related to HBV connections to liver cancer.
We need to do a better job of talking with our patients and communicating with them about the why of their health care and not just giving recommendations or ordering tests or interventions without explaining why they need them.
Patients are supposed to be making an informed decision but how can they do that if we aren’t informing them? Keep this article in mind as you talk with your patients and make sure they understand what you’re doing for them and why.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Sepsis Assessment Updates for Nurses and Episode 386.